Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Faces in the Crowd

I actually think the name of the title for this blogg is from a regular section in Sports Illustraited. I havn't read it in years. Well I'm still in good condition, no relapse into that fun little adventure from October, typhoid. Work has continued to go well, with my solid waste managment project for schools in full motion now, I start the trainings in December. I think there are 7 schools to conduct trainings at in 4 days. That should be a fun week. I am looking forward to next week, Thanksgiving. I think myself and some other volunteers are going to roast up, pinoy style of course, 3 turkeys. Hmmmm.....and Sam Miguel......the only thing missing will be the football, but I can imagine the Packers loosing in my head just as well as watching it.

The last couple weeks I have started to find myself getting very settled. I like that. The constant new "imputs" that have become a daily, weekly, and monthly norm over the past 7 1/2 months have began to slow down a bit. I'm starting to develop a bit of a routine, and sitting back and observing life a little more around me. Not to say I havn't been observing it up till now. Just now I'm starting to see it in a differant light, perhaps you could say I'm starting to understand it. At least a little. I have no grand observations to make, or conclusions to come to, I don't know what the collage in my brain means. I have found myself in the past couple weeks taking pictures of more people, than of the scenery around me. Some of the people in the following pictures I know, and in fact I'm becoming close with. Others I don't know at all, and it was just in passing that I took thier picture. I am not going to note who is who, I'll leave it to your imagination. The people that I don't know I would look at the picture and try to imagine what the past events that person had endured or been through, or in the case of children the beauty of innocense. I am throwing a title on each picture, just for fun. My next blogg I hope to write a bit more about my life here, from a more cultural stand point. As always I hope everyone is well and healthy.

"The scale read 'Cute' "
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"If you only knew"
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"You know what we did!!!"
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"Go Away"
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"Are they calling me?"
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"Where you been?"
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Typhoid Fever = NO FUN!

As you can guess from that title of this blogg, I got typhoid. Well at least that is what the doctors tell me. All I know is whatever I had, for two weeks of my life I wanted nothing more than better drugs than they were giving me, my mom, my bed, and home. It wasn't fun. Every bone, joint, and partical in my body hurt. Nothing hurt more than my eyes, they felt like someone was taking a dull knife and digging them out. All of this while my fever jumped from normal to 1o3+ every 8 hours. I spent the first 4 days of this suffering in my bed at home, thinking how much I hated hospitals. Come monday morning I was left with little choice, I headed to the hospital. As mentioned before I don't like hospitals. I like them even less when I have typhoid and I'm in the Philippines. They require you to do many of the mundane tasks that you normally don't think of when your sick. Like pick up your own lab results, arrange for all your billing in advance, and arrange for your own admitance into the hospital including your room. Well I guess they don't mean for ME to, but for someone besides the people working at the hospital to do all this. Most people have someone with them when they go to the hospitals here. I did eventially get a "kasama," (a fellow volunteer who took a week out of her life to babysit me, bring me ediable food, and accomplish these tasks on my behalf) but for my first 5 hours at the hospital I didn't have someone to take care of these tasks. Thus it was left to me and my little friend typhoid to take care of. It wasn't enjoyable, but I think I have stressed that point enough. I spent 5 days in the hospital. Really the worst of what I had was over before I actually went to the hospital, but my white blood cell count was ridiculously low, so the doctor was not letting me go anywhere till it went back to somewhat normal levels. From what i'm told I recovered remarkably quick for having was too long for me.

That is somewhat of my excuse for the delay of this blogg. I have no new pics to add. Well I do but I don't have them with me to post now. I'm in the city, I just got through having a check-up with the doctor, and having more lab tests done to make sure i'm all in the clear. Before I got sick, it was an interesting and fun month at work and home. After getting done with my month of training I had lots of ideas and lots of built up motivation to get things going and underway at work. I was all moved into my own house. I also had my fiesta. I didn't get as many pics as I had wanted from my fiesta but it was a lot of fun. No sleep, but lots of fun. My house, which is about 15 meters from the basketball court didn't stop vibrating for 2 days. They Philippinos like there music loud, and they get LOTS and LOTS of BIG speakers for fiesta. You can hear them up to a kilometer away, and my house is 15 meters away, think about it. I got wrangled into judging a singing contest, which i was looking forward to. Most Philippinos can sing so well, but I think they found some of the worst singers in the Barangay and put them in the contest. It was easy to pick the top three though that was for sure. It wasn't easy crushing young girls dreams though. The actual night of fiesta the Disco went till 4:30 in the morning, so of course i was up till 4:30 in the morning, with previously mentioned speakers sleep isn't so much of an option. Seeing the fiesta was only 1 week after I move to the Barangay it was a good opportunity to meet lots of the people from the village.

As I mentioned before I had a lot of motivation built up for work after being away for almost a whole month. I am starting to see small amounts of progress here and there, which is satisfying. I wasn't expecting to see any at all for a long time. I'm not expecting to see more, but it was nice to see any at all. The first school that I implamented my "pilot" project at for Solid Waste Managment organized there own "eco" beauty contest. I was extreemly impressed and proud that they where incorporating so much already into thier school. The contest includes a total amount that each contestent can collect in recycled goods, as well as the gowns and sashes are made of recycled waste. With other enviromental componants as wel. One is the Eco-Club, that I assisted in creating with another teacher, is organizing a clean up of a area the morning of the contest. The project has been changed a bit, but we are working on implamenting it at 5 more schools in the next 2-3 months. The new project includes a way for the schools to obtain small amounts of income from thier recycled waste. It also includes acutal enviromental lesson plans to be distributed to each school to make it more sustainable.

I was also assigned another project from my supervisor. This one consists of organizing a women's livlihood group amoung a cluster of 11 barangays. 5 women from each baranagay, so 55 women in all. It is still underway but I have held a meeting with the women and they are intrested in creating food produce. First we are holding values and leadership training for the women. We have had 2 of the 6 trainings on those topics. The other trainings will be managerial (basic skills), a training on what type of group they want i.e. co-op, society, group, ect. The last will be technical training on the area they choose to start with. They are considering banana chips, penut butter, and other items. I think they will start with banana chips, which I do think will have a marginal success, but it has to be their choice. Later I will suggest they differentiating there products. I think the best chance of local sucsess they have is their penut butter. The nice thing about this projet is it is under the "Secondary Growth Economic Alliance" that my office is working with, so the women have funding available and the Alliance is willing to purchase all produce from the women (pending quality) package it under the alliance name (also creating more jobs) and sell it to the public. The woment don't have to sell to the alliance if they find better prices for their goods, but it is a nice safety net for them as well.

Well I feel like I just wrote a book, I will try to get more pics up for you all once I get some good ones. For Thanksgiving I am taking that thur. and fri. off of work and meeting some other volunteers on another island for turkeys and stuffing. I also will be picking up my new gutiar. I'm excited for both these things. Now I just need to learn to play, or at least pluck and strum...:-D I do want to say hello to my mom and a thanks to all her friends at Alloc for keeping her sain and not letting her worry about me to much. I also want to say a very special hello to Heidi and Elijah! Congrats Heidi, I hear from everyone he is a cute-i-pie, but than again I knew he would be!