Monday, September 22, 2008

I totally heard about your trip to the beach…

Peace Corps Philippines batch 267 started off with 69 trainees. We now have 68. From what I’ve heard from other returned volunteers our group is doing well. There isn’t really a formula, but maybe 10% of trainees leave in the first few months.

The fact that one person went home really isn’t that exciting on the whole but it highlights how starved we are for things to talk about. The 68 of us are spread out between 3 islands and hundreds of miles, but because of our handy PC funded cell phones we can know exactly who left, who is dating who, who got bitten by what animal (a rat), who has a triple ear infection, and who has amoebas (all true, P to the S). My training group has so far has managed to steer clear of hook-ups and major sicknesses. In many ways it’s like going back to high school: rumors flying, overprotective parents, can’t drive, and new things happening to our bodies.

This past week my group was also visited by three current volunteers. One helped us to understand more about our jobs as teachers and some of the challenges to expect from that. The other two helped us with a special water safety training that we did at the beach. Water safety training was a two part activity. First we were loaded onto a boat that would be used to transport us from islands that are about 1 hour apart. We took the boat out to sea and then jumped into the water--with life vests on. We then had to pull ourselves—with vests on—back onto the boat. Then jump back out of the boat, swim to a smaller boat pull ourselves onto that one, jump back in, swim to the big boat, and finally climb back in. Two of my group members can’t swim so that made it a slightly stressful event. They made it through very well despite their disadvantage and passed handedly. After we got back to shallow waters we learned how to drag a floating body through the water—I guess in case we feel the desire to save someone. Overall it was a lot of fun. We didn’t get any sun because there’s a typhoon messing up the weather here currently, but it was still nice to get a day at the beach and away from school and class.

Going back to the gossip though…

I hosted a little get together at my house where a few of us made chika-chika (Hiligaynon for chit-chat) with our swimming instructors. We got out the PC “yearbook”—a book with all our pictures—and talked about all the drama from batch 266 as compared to 267. In such a captive population I suppose that this is the inevitable outcome. Makes me wonder if this is unique to PC Philippines or is a universal PC past time.

On Sunday I will be learning where I will be teaching for the next two years. Rumor has it that I may be staying here in my current city, but again that’s all rumors. I know that I’ll be moving up to a college level position, but that’s about all I know. I’ll fill you all in next week when I know more.


rachel fitz said...

exciting! so much adventure! thinking of you <3

Jasmine Sawers said...

I think at this point I'm living for chikka-chikka

See you in a few days!

Catherine Trottman said...

I've been reading your blog and I'm getting so excited about going!!! I leave on Saturday. I'll have a blog too:

Have fun!

Sarah said...

hey justin!!! i just found your blog and am soo excited for you!! i'm joining AmeriCorps and leave in a week for that...its my way of taking baby steps toward peace corps! i hope you're loving it and enjoying it and i cant wait to read more!
Sarah (smasters!)