Monday, August 31, 2009

Batch 268, Butterfliles, and Dancing Prisoners

Last week, while I was celebrating my one year anniversary away from home, I was also in Manila as part of the welcoming committee for our new batch of volunteers. 10 current volunteers were chosen to spend the week in Manila to act as resources for our 68 new trainees. As a group of resource volunteers our biggest revelation was that the only thing more boring than filling out visa paperwork, is watching other people fill out visa paperwork. Besides sitting in on info sessions on policy and culture we also got to answer hundreds of fun questions. Overall, it was a really fun week and one that I hope will be of value to our new batch.

P.S. every time someone calls them the "new batch" I'm reminded of this classic movie:
From there I went with a few of my friends down to Cebu to see what is slowly gaining a cult following, The Dancing Prisoners. They're gaining popularity through YouTube, especially because of their excellent Thriller dance and the Death of Michael Jackson. At this prison and rehab center they've hired a choreographer who teaches the inmates new dances and every month they present a show. They were so amazing! We all thought that there would be lots of distance (and bars) between us and the dancers, but instead we were within arms reach of them. After the dance they all line up for a photo op. By the end of the show you kind of forget that most of them have killed someone or something equally bad.
We had some extra time so we also went to a butterfly garden in the middle of the city. It is run by a man whose father was an ardent butterfly lover, artist, and explorer. His son has inherited the family house and continues to expand on his father's work. Besides seeing some beautiful butterflies we also got to see his father's art projects. His father was an avid painter and combined his love of butterflies and art and starting making art out of the wings of dead butterflies. He did 11 portraits of famous men out of small snipits of butterfly wings. The intricate details and tedious nature of working with butterfly wings made the art really special to see.
Needless to say I'm happy to be back home resting and prepping for my school's foundation week. Sept. 6-12 we are pulling out all the stops to put on a week of programs and dinner and speeches to celebrate our 12th year of operation. Its going to be something special. I'll let you know how it goes.

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