Monday, October 11, 2010

Grupo Terrible/Great

Another week and weekend come and gone in the Philippines! I really can't believe it is October already and my two month mark is coming up fast!

This past week was focused on Environmental Education and coming up with our community project to take place here in our training site of Banate. For the Environmental Education bit, the two CRM clusters split up into pairs to teach hour long sessions on either Solid Waste Management or Marine Ecosystems. There were four sessions this past saturday and there will be two more on the 23rd. Elizabeth and I lucked out and we are teaching on the 23rd so we have a bit more time to prepare for our lesson. We will be teaching Marine Ecosystems to grade 6-7 youth.... oh boy!

We also presented our bio-assessment (mangrove, coral reef and seagrass surveys) findings to the community this week and discussed with them what type of project they would like us to do for them. This was a little more difficult that I expected. We constantly have to deal with the perception that because we are American we have money and access to so much funding. We had to stress to them over and over that we only have a small amount for the project and that the main purpose of PC is not to fund projects (because we have no money really) but to lend our skills and expertise. I have a feeling that I will be explaining this concept a lot over the next two years!

After A LOT of talking to the community, it was decided that our community project will focus on mangrove planting and training. We will have a week of activities including awareness and education about mangroves, training people how to plant and maintain mangrove forest, and have a clean up and planting day as well. I really hope everything goes well, especially since the Barangay Captain elections will be right before our project begins!

Only four weeks left at our training site, before we leave for our counterparts conference, swearing in as official PC Volunteers, and then off to our sites for the next two years! And we are all really lucky that we really won't be that far from one another, which makes it much easier for collaborating on projects together and just generally supporting each other! Just to give you an idea, below is a map of Panay Island (where I have been training) with all of the sites where PCVs will be... and this is just one island of many in the Visayas where PCVs are/will be.

The future PCVs of Panay Island!

None of us can believe how fast time is going by! We are enjoying our time left here and are already planning holiday get-togethers. I am definitely excited about going to site and start getting things done, but I sure am going to miss Grupo Grabe! We have so much fun together :)

Playing soccer with some locals, including ex-national players.
Just one of our weekly routines :)
J, S and E having fun at Supervisor's Conference.

E, L, S and T hanging out in Bacolod.

The guys of Grupo Grabe decided to start a trend of mohawks, and the trend has already spread to our TCF. Next Banate, Panay Island, the Philippines, and then the world!
Getting ready to run in the Milo Marathon (the 5K part that is)!

Grupo Grabe - I love these guys!!!
That's all for now!

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