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Report: JUNE 30th

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!)


Cambodia writes… and i do not


lyd and i just got back from cambodia, or i did last week but got food poisoning last sunday night and was out of comission until thursday (not cool bangkok, sushi and/or undercooked steak…).

the jist: we had to figure out how to begin our big project of getting our organization’s library resources online and how to start the project from scratch, so we went to visit an ORG in Phnom Penh who has done similar work, to talk technical stuff with them. while we were there we got to stay with Lydia’s family and also see our internship friends on Team Cambodia: Andrea, Naomi and Jeff. They are BY FAR the funniest team! unsuspecting, put hilarious! i laughed so hard in those brief fews days…

anyways… as with most things in life i hope to HOPE to write about my time in Kuala Lumpur, Phnom Penh and Bangkok, but until then please settle for an honourable mention in 2/3 Team Cambodia’s blogs (Naomi’s has a tar antula pic).  they are pretty great and often funny blogs to follow even i wasnt being mentioned but yes, enjoy!

walang shout-out, but still worth reading just for kicks: andrea’s blog..

clockwise: Lydia, Naomi, Jeff, Steve*, Jody*, Andrea, Me (*SP Cambodia)

now if you know me, you will know that this next picture is completely unexpected

They were so good I ate 2! You can seriously fry anything and it will be semi-edible.

The Cambodian Intern's Initiation for us: Eating Tar antulas! They were so good I ate 2! You can seriously fry anything and it will be semi-edible.



Please pray, right now.

PLEASE PRAY for some of the women we’ve been reaching out to; 24 of them (in two separate incidences) got taken to jail even though there is a law that protects them from being arrested. it is odd also because one of the groups was taken to a different district than the one they were arrested in, which is very suspicious. please pray that these women will not be abused, trafficked or ‘disappear’ and that they will receive a fair trial. we found out last night during our training time so half of us stayed to pray and our ministry leaders went to bring them food and supplies. It was also to make sure the police knew that these women’s whereabouts were known and to discuss the terms of their arrest on behalf of these women. the leaders also prayed with the women before they left and the women cried, surprised that our group cared for them enough to go out to jail late into the night. pray that this whole situation is under God’s hand of protection. seriously! pray! these are real girls. thank you.



Well – its no one’s fault but my own – my readership has totally tanked!

i went from 25 a few days ago all the way down to 2!


im sorry ive been so bad at updating ya’ll – i KNOW that is the whole point of the blog – but ive been so busy with both work and rec and lying in front of a fan or killing bugs or making food or drinking water that i just havent had time!


here is an except from a monthly report we have to do for our internship – where we talk about one of the experiences we had in reaching out to the women we are hoping will join our livelihood training program to begin the walk to getting out.

Its about a woman named Jenny* and you can pray for her.

Its just a quick insight into what the friday night bar ministy looks like. ive also attached a photo so you have an idea of the type of areas we are working in… def not yonge st. and it is quite messy after it rains, which it does every afternoon now.

keep praying every friday for us.

i think awesome stuff is going down especially with this one woman we will call *Dot.

also please be sensitive on here when commenting and please dont put any information about the group im working with – for our safety and the safety of these women.


much love from phili

Very similar street to where *Jenny's bar is

On my first outreach night it had been raining quite hard during pre-outreach prayer so our leaders were considering canceling, and considering my nervousness I was going to be ok with that! But the rains stopped, so our group of 3 leaders and 3 interns headed out by jeepney down one of the city’s major arteries to a strip of nearby ‘karaoke’ bars. I had passed them multiple times that week but never knew they were the bars that held the women that I had already been praying for. What surprised me was the difference in appearance in these bars, even from the ones I had been picturing as I prayed. I had been careful not to picture a ‘North American’ bar with an air of temptation, dazzling lights and pictures of scantily clad female-creation on the front. What I did imagine was a bar standing shyly in the presence of street lights with bar stools, a menu, well hidden ‘rooms in the back’ and a generally enticing red light allure. The purposes of the bar I went to, and its women were not as coyly hidden as I had imagined, and this ‘bar’ looked to be the furthest thing from inviting. It was marked by old lawn chairs, a rainbow picnic umbrella, Christmas lights and a poorly painted ‘Karaoke’ sign. Inside there were rows of doorways covered only by sheets and the outside was made of rusted sheet metal. By Canadian standards it was nothing more than a ‘shack’ and here it was a regular weekend establishment. The standard of the bar became evident as we got closer and a dead rat lay on the muddy walkway, tred over by those in search of a drink, karaoke and more.

I met a woman there named Jenny*. Although she was dressed quite fancy with a sequined top and bright red lipstick (vastly more seductive than the other women I have since met) she was not at all who I was picturing as a prostitute; Jenny was about 60 years old and this was her life. She was beautiful, but not from any of the things she had ‘put on’ to make herself feel that way. I sat with Jenny and in typically Filipino manner she held my hand throughout our chat. We conversed in her broken English and my broken Tagalog – completely ignoring the topics of brokenness we both knew were the reason for my visit. As I sat with Jenny and got to know her in the most basic of questions her eyes constantly darted away from me as she scoped out cars that looked like they might have noticed the Christmas lights above the bar and more importantly their reflection off her sparkly top.

Those moments for me were overwhelming. As I asked if she had kids and where she grew up, I kept thinking about all of my training and everything I had ever learned about how a person ends up sitting on the other side of this picnic table. It was as though in that moment Jenny encompassed all the stories of exploitation and women that I had ever heard about and all I wanted to do was mourn for her. I prayed and prayed that God would hold back my tears – how judgmental would that be if I cried in front of her, on her own behalf? Thankfully – and only in God’s strength – I didn’t cry. I kept asking myself and God questions of the situation; Why is she still here? What is her full story? And, how is it that the demand for porn for those in Toronto indirectly affects her – without her even having a say in the matter? Considering we both knew that if she had had other options she would have taken them, the hardest question I wrestled with was, ‘how come it is Jenny on that side of the table and not me?’

My ministry partner and leader was a woman named *Maria and she sat so comfortably on the damp lawn chairs that remained un-wiped after the heavy rain. She spoke with ease to Jenny and it wasn’t even because Maria knew her native language – it was because Maria knew her.  Not the her within the greater picture of demand, exploitation and evil, but the her right before us. And for all the things I had trained for and read about, all that really mattered in that moment was that I got to know her, Jenny. In that moment God didn’t answer my questions but He revealed to me that they weren’t what was most important. What was most important and what truly mattered then and there was Jenny, His beloved daughter.

Since that night with Jenny, outreach has become much easier and much more comfortable, because I am no longer going to “minister to prostitutes” but I am going to check up on new friends. My hope is that by the end of my time here I might see some of these friends ‘get out’.

sharing my bed

well overall im really enjoying my time here

im loving sharing life with lydia – she is a gift from God

im loving sharing life with our ate’s* who are hosting us – they are faithful, wise, respectable and hilarious women

im loving sharing life with people ive met; the philippino’s are loving, jovial and hard working and the ex-pats are loving, passionate and truly here to serve.

im really NOT enjoying:
-having boobs
-being so hot that my skin feels like i have a fever all the time (dont worry mom, i dont. also this qualifies as a Its So Hot That…)
-sharing my personal space with cockroaches and salamanders – i feel like if i dont touch them they shouldnt touch me
-sharing my food and my kitchen with ants
-sharing my bed with various bugs – ants, some other thing and i think maybe fleas… they jump. but praise God nothing has bitten me yet!

so yeah

thats it for now

*(sounds like ‘ah-teh’)

my feet feel clean

this is a brief post just about some thoughts and observances i have at 2am.

– here is a pic of lydia me and our already home american friend Ziwei doing the philippino sign for good looking

– here’s a link to Lydia’s blog. Shes my partner in anti-crime here for the next 5 months and she is equally as awesome as the mangos

– it was a very long day and ended with a philippino despedida at our house… so of course that meant karaoke and lots of food!

– ITS SO HOT THAT… the 3 L tub of ice cream we got to make banana splits for the despedida almost completely melted in the 10 minutes it took us to get home from the store

– boys here dance (even when theres no girls dancing). and they are joyful.

– im very thankful for canadian health care

– im no longer phased by puppies being sold out of a bucket

– i dropped some french down at the Canadian embassey in a meeting with a Quebecois CIDA rep, and all im saying is that we got some untypical results out of that meeting: 1) an application for funding for our ministry 2) an invitation to debreif over lunch with us and her whole department in october.

– i finally unpacked my suitcase

– i have devised an anti-cockroach system in our room. we are in phase 1 – which is blocking the bathroom drain with a bucket and dont hit it when you brush your teeth. we will be moving into phase 2 this weekend, consisting of wire mesh and duct tape

– people look at you all the time if you are white. you honestly cant even pick your nose.

– people look at you even stranger if you are white and are carrying a 1 metre roll of wire mesh back home on the jeepney.

– my new fav sentence is: “we will believe for them that they can” in reference to something impossible attempted to be carried out…

– i think raining season has begun… it did not rain at all until 3 days ago – and in 3 days it has rained for at least 6 times

– tonight i really really really scrubbed my feet and they feel soft and human again.

– i am tired but sattisfied

dreamer, nothing but a dreamer…

well deer ones (get it! i totally just made that up)…  stats, messages and comments tell me you’re reading my blog



i appologize for the lack new material and general un-excitment in this corner of the web.

it is not from a lack of stories or sights to tell of so im going to blame this PROBLEM on of my STRENGTHS

we did a ‘Strengths Finder’ personality test as a part of our internship training and one of my top five strengths was IDEATION. when i heard it – i, like you, thought THATS NOT A REAL THING! but as the book went on to explain, it means i love to dream dreams, new dreams, BIG dreams and have a never ending supply of ideas… usually pretty awesome ones that people would write books about if they were ever seen to fruition. but that plethora of ideas/stories/thoughts also lends itself to the problem of follow through because who has time to finish these things once they’ve begun?… there’s more ideas, dreams and thoughts to be had!  hence why i have 3 really great idea’s for blog posts STARTED in my draft folder but not finished…

so here, PAT and others

AN UPDATED POST! (and i really did appreciate your nudging)

lets begin again with light and airy and save the hard stuff for another day.

here’s something that could change how we live forever…

i have figured out a new form of temperature measurement that is bound to unite the world all too often divided by Celsius and Fahrenheit.  it just so happens that it is also a new segment of my blog that i will include from time to time. the segment (and measurement system) is called: “IT’S SO STINKIN HOT THAT…”

let me demonstrate:

‘Its so stinkin hot that… when i pour my shampoo into my hand it is warmer than my hand… and im pretty sure my body temperature is at boiling’

see! its a very easy measurement system that anyone can use.

so again, to be sure you understand:

‘its so stinkin hot that… when lydia and i get to work we crouch down almost on top of the nearest fan and blow it up our shirts, skirts and shorts and we dont even care that you think that sounds sketchy. fan + sweat-soaked clothes from 25 minutes of jeepnies and walking = 5 minutes of the closest thing we have to air conditioning… and it is sweet sweet gold”

now for some breif stories….

1) the other morning i woke up and walked into the bathroom and found a butiki (house lizzard) on our wall. i didnt know if they bit or jumped – so i didnt shower… THATS how creeped out i was

2) the other night i got up to pee, turned on the bathroom light and saw a 2 inch ipis (cockroach) hanging out on the showers ledge… i went to go get the Raid but when i got back i couldnt find him anywhere…  so i closed the bathroom and blocked access to our room with plastic bags under the door.

3) the other day at work i had just grabbed a spoon from the drawer and then moved to the other side of the kitchen to retrieve my food, when i saw a 4 or 5 inch gagamba (spider) scurry away from below the counter where my flip-flopped foot once stood. (this word is easy to remember because i think ‘BAAAAAHHHHHH’ at the end – a la kevin mcallister)

4) our American friend Ziwei is currently in-flight heading back to California. She has been great at adopting us and acquainting us with life in Metro Manila. Your hilarious imagination will be missed ZEDway!

This is in “REMEMBRANCE” of you (ha!)

Lydia, Ziwei and the 'non-person' (!)

so thats it for now im EXHAUSTED and haven’t really rested since i got here… mostly just crashed and done it all over again…

so sunny friends, enjoy tuesday… it was a good one!


***Lyrics and Link to Supertramp’s ‘Dreamer’ ***

(please note: i specifically chose this version of the song on youtube for its awesome graphics… and you’re welcome)

Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said dreamer, you’re nothing but a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said “Far out, – What a day, a year, a laugh it is!”
You know, – Well you know you had it comin’ to you,
Now there’s not a lot I can do

Dreamer, you stupid little dreamer;
So now you put your head in your hands, oh no!
I said “Far out, – What a day, a year, a laugh it is!”
You know, – Well you know you had it comin’ to you,
Now there’s not a lot I can do.

Well work it out someday

If I could see something
You can see anything you want boy
If I could be someone-
You can be anyone, celebrate boy.
If I could do something-
Well you can do something,
If I could do anything-
Well can you do something out of this world?

Take a dream on a Sunday
Take a life, take a holiday
Take a lie, take a dreamer
dream, dream, dream, dream, dream along…

Dreamer, you know you are a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!
I said dreamer, you’re nothing but a dreamer
Well can you put your hands in your head, oh no!

Im here!

im HERE!



we just got back from an evening stroll to the mall to enjoy some “air-con”, “halo halo” and  to learn the route to take to get to the jeepnies that will take us to work each day. while we were out our hosts surprised us with the halo halo, and i didnt want to seem rude, so we will find out tomorrow if the water used for the ice chips was filtered or not! here’s hoping the answer is YES!

Its friday evening here – which means we have the weekend for our hosts to orient us beforer we have to be in any form responsible.
it was nice to have today just to adjust to the time and the heat… just last weekend there was still snow in the shade of the albertan trees, and tonight i walked below hanging palm branches…

right now – im not sure that i prefer one ‘life’ or the other… im in a space in between preference at this moment BUT I DO KNOW that its nice to have a ‘home’ again and also that i would love to be rolling in some snow right now!

so i think ill try to end my posts with brief blurps of thoughts; the good, the bad and the ugly just to categories some ideas.
the good: we have a shower!
the bad: the only setting is cold…
the ugly: me rocking the un-showered travel / hot sweaty foreigner look…
the best: how much you love me! thank you for your emails and FB notes… THANK YOU!

now for some cold water to rectify that ugly!
much love

Im pretty sure this video and song by of the Black Eyed Peas was made for me and my trip.


1) It’s About the Philippines!

2) It’s super catchy and makes you want to dance!

3) That girl dancing like that… yep, I def would have chose that…

4) Floating bubbles, squiggles and rainbows that threw up all over! (MY HEART IN VIDEO FORM!)


Vodpod videos no longer available.