Crafting, Dancing, and Birthday-ing

Well these last 2 weeks have been a lot better. I’ve had a lot of fun.

Last week there were government periodical tests and apparently I wasn’t needed to teach classes (the teachers needed to “prep” or train the kids what the answers on the tests are this week), so I focused on making teaching aids with Lucie. Our idea to make visual aids for the teachers is turning out well. We are getting feedback from the teachers - they are telling us what they need, which is exactly what we want to know! We gave out forms to all the teachers to fill out to let us know what kind of posters or flashcards they need for their classrooms, and with the return of these forms, we have found ourselves with lots of work to be done! We’ve been making and drawing everything by hand - it really makes you appreciate computers, printers, and laminators. The work is pretty enjoyable. I get to draw and colour and cut and paste for a few hours every day. Lucie and I work in the library making these aids, we get to chat, and the kids during break and lunch always come to watch and help.

Grade 6 boys who are too cute for their own good

Last Friday there was a teachers’ conference held at my school, and Sally, the lady I’m living with who also happens to be a teacher at the school, asked me to train some of her grade 6 students how to dance to a song called “Chocolate”, so that they could perform for the teachers that day. I also taught some grade 4 and 5’s how to sing a song called, “Peanut Butter and Jelly” to perform too. When it came to the day to perform, Lucie and I were asked to dance with the kids for the “Chocolate” song, which at first I tried to oppose, but we had to in the end. I knew the attention would be turned on us instead of the kids, which I didn’t want because the kids worked so hard all week, but what can you do when you know if you refuse you will hurt feelings? Of course when we danced the teachers watching pulled out their cellphones (everyone is poor, but everyone seems to have a cellphone - that and a TV) to take pictures of Lucie and I. Pretty funny.

So work wise, things have become a bit more rewarding because Lucie and I figured out a situation that needed to be helped at the school and took initiative to work on it. Next week is going to be busier though now that tests are over. Along with making visual aids, I’m going to teach regular classes, start tutorials, and coach volleyball! I’m looking forward to doing more work though, because that is after all what I came for.

Me with Birthday cake and buko (young coconut) salad

On the 14th it was my 24th Birthday. About 20-25 people (half of which I knew) came to Sally and Rey’s house (the family I’m staying with) to celebrate my birthday. Everyone in the barangay (village) knew it was my birthday somehow and were wishing me happy birthday all day long. For the party, Lucie somehow managed to make a delicious chocolate cake and I made a massive amount of spaghetti a la Jen-style for the 20 people. It was delicious. We had a ton of fun dancing around and being crazy. I did not expect to have such an eventful birthday, but it turned out very very special. My family and Lucie’s family even gave me gifts which was completely unexpected - I got a beautiful sarong and a cute pink t-shirt. They really shouldn’t have, but it made me feel pretty special, I must say. My family and Lucie’s family have really made us feel like we have known them forever. They truly are wonderful people I won’t forget.

Right now I’m in Boracay with Lucie, we’ve been here for a few days now. Had to extend my visa and we decided to stay a few extra days to relax. A little disappointed I didn’t get to go diving because of a head cold I managed to get. I must say it really is strange being here, we actually have showers and proper toilets and toilet paper, and we can eat anything we want. It’s nice and we are really enjoying being here, but it really puts things into perspective.

Anyway, time to go and more to come!

Click here to see my Swiss friend Lucie’s blog.

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