Each month we have to write a report on both personal and professional development and share some stories about our time here. It is a report that we have to submit but im pretty sure that it is really for our own debriefing benefit. And as I write it I am glad that I have to cause otherwise I wouldnt.

SO when I submitted my report last month I was really pleased with my “Jenny” story (see earlier post) but I didnt feel like my other peices were worth putting on here. But after getting some great feedback on my report alongside complaints that im not putting enough on here about what my life is like I will just start sharing excerpts from my reports in case they are of interest.

So here it is, Question 4 from my June 30th report!:

In one paragraph, please describe the activities you have undertaken in the past month to understand more fully and participate in the local context:

The nature of our work and our everyday surroundings allows us to have many interactions with various Filipinos in many different settings. We live with two volunteers of our organization who have trained us in how to ride a trike, a jeepney and buy things at the local market and mini-mall. At work we often attend meetings, help the women with their livelihood projects and daily share meals together which are all cultural experiences in themselves! One of the most important cultural events we have experienced at work as well as our home are despedidas (good-bye parties) for different people, all of which involved various combinations of eating, dancing, music and karaoke. We’ve also become friends with one of the Filipina volunteers who is our age and invited us for a weekend away with her Navigators group from the University of the Philippines. It was a weekend for relaxation as well as for the group to discuss their future, so we got to see some of the struggles that affect even the ‘privileged’ within Filipino society.

We spent two weeks at language and cultural training school where we learned a lot of the basic vocabulary and rules to to understand Tagalog, and it was great because we also met other ex-pats there working in similar ministries to the urban poor, including some fellow Canadians! Another benefit of language school was that our teachers were two women our age, and when we had a “real life” language session at a mini-mall, after class time, we all decided to go used clothes shopping together! This was one of my favourite activities because I felt like a young person of Manila, instead of just a visitor. Visiting a mall in itself is also a very “Manila” thing to do. Free air-conditioning leads to an overall “Mall Culture” which is why Metro Manila has 3 of the 10 largest malls in the world and Lydia and I have definitely enjoyed them on hot days! One of the other activities we did with the language school was a cultural outing to some historic sites in Manila – which helped give us a better idea of the history of the Philippines as a whole. So even though it’s only been 5 weeks, I feel like we’ve been immersed in Filipino culture and we have also enjoyed it immensely!

there it is – a bit choppy cause it was supposed to be much shorter, but there were so many things to cover!

i hope you enjoy…

now stay tuned for Quetsion 6: Discussing Professional Goals…


much love and goodnight (love you mum! – I know you read this!)