The Community Meeting was a huge success too! So many people showed up and they were very excited to participate. We had them draw a community map, identifying resources in their Barangay, make a list of needs, and give us their daily and yearly schedules. All of this information will be vital as we plan a project and continue to seek their involvement!
Saturday my cluster plus a few from the other CRM training cluster went to the nearby town of Baratoc Nueva to play soccer on an actual soccer field. This has become a weekly event for us! Our PC driver, Bobbit has a lot of friends who play soccer so we usually meet up with them to play. Most of the time the Filipinos beat us pretty badly but in our defense some of them are ex-national players... no lie!
Sunday some of us traveled early in the AM to IloIlo City, about an hour away. to run in the annual Milo Marathon. The actual marathon is held in Manila, but in Iloilo there is a half marathon, 10k, 5k and 3k, so we all ran in the 5k race. Even though I was feeling a bit under the weather I mustered up some strength and ran. It turned out to be a really great race and a lot people came out for it. The starting line was packed but everyone took off as they sounded the buzzer! They had water stations along the way and also handed out plastic string necklaces at every kilometer. There were quite a lot of PC volunteers and trainees running in the race and many many Filipinos! We all had fun and already plan to re-unite every year in Iloilo for the race :)
So this week we are all in Bacolod, a city in the next island over, for our highly anticipated Supervisor's Conference. We are staying at a really nice hotel with showers, flushing toilets, AirCon and really really really good food! It is almost like a vacation for us.... except we are still training.
Yesterday we found out our permanent sites and met our supervisors. Ever since the first week of training we all heard about the CRM site of Guimaras, home to the best mangos in the world and lots of coastal resources. Since we heard there were two CRM volunteers going there we sadly assumed it would be the married couple. But surprise, there are actually going to be three CRM volunteers there and..... Drumroll please.... I will be one of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Guimaras is a small island south of the large island of Panay that I am training at. I will have two site mates, an education and youth development volunteer. Two of my CRM friends are also going to be on the island in neighboring towns about 20 min on either side of my town too! We are really excited to be so close to each other and to the city since we are only a 20 minute boat ride to Iloilo City, where there is a mall and theater!
All three of our supervisors get along too and are already talking about our three towns working on projects together! When it comes to coastal resources management the more towns and provinces you have working together, the more effective the management is so we are really fortunate that our municipalities get along!
My town in Guimaras is the capital and also home to coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass and a Sea Turtle Conservation Center! These will be the things I will be working on for the next two years! I will be going to my site for a visit later this week so I am really excited to meet the host family I will be staying with there and the office people I will be working with! Then back to Banate to complete my training for another two months!
More to come later!