Monday, August 30, 2010

May Bag-o Nga Familya

Friday we arrived in Iloilo City which is on the Visayan Island of Panay. We then took a 1 1/2 coaster ride (which is really a big van) to Banate, where we met our host families. There to greet me was my host mother, Lisa, and her 9 year old son, Jan-Jan. Lisa welled with tears as I approached her and welcomed me in an embrace!
Me with my host mom and brother.

I love my new host family! I am very fortunate to have a large host family who all live together in separate houses on the same compound. My host dad, Jon, is the son of the the Barangay (town) Captain, which is an elected position. They are a very well respected family and I feel quite safe with them. I also have a 10 year old host sister. Everyone is so nice and friendly! I have a good size room with a bed that actually fits me (yeah!), a dresser and table. They also let me have one of the two fans that are in the household, which makes me feel very spoiled and grateful! They also decorated my room with yellow curtains and yellow paper on the walls.

I have many titas (aunts) who all also have houses on the compound. They have very nice houses which I visit often and sometimes have lunch at too. The compound also has many animals roaming about. There are hens, roosters (which love to wake me up at 4 AM), turkeys, geese and dogs. The dogs include what I call the "clean up dogs" which you don't pet because they are gross, but they clean up all of the leftovers from meals. Then there are the actual pet dogs, which are full breeds. One of my titas also has love birds, some kind of talking birds, and what they call a "wild cat" but I have never seen an animal like it before. It kind if looks like a cross between a possum and a ferret.

My "relatives" are always looking after me, asking me how I slept, if I feel safe, and how do I like the Philippines. I feel very fortunate to be staying with such great people who make sure that I am acclimating to the heat and culture, as well as teaching me the local language!

Meeting your host family can be somewhat of a very stressful endeavor since you are also being dropped  off into a new town and culture. Thankfully I also have a awesome cluster (training group at my site). There are six of us and we all get along well and are each other's support system as we go through our training. I know there will be many many stories to tell and I will make sure to share some with you all!

Kita-ay kita sunod!

1 comment:

  1. Stefanie: Charleston misses you. Weather here is just now getting bareable. You know how September can be here. Evenings on the Patio (or down at your favorite watering hole) are wonderful. We are following your adventure. I am not sure if my first message got throught or not, I am new at this medium. You stay in our thoughts and prayers. Your life is truly a blessing to those you touch.

    Your writings make me feel that I am right there with you keep up the good work. My journey has started also and I have to thank you for my "adventure".

    Nancy and Jim Bowlin (I have to show James and Khara your Blog)