– it was supposed to be my
last month here in Kalibo until I got my extension period approved.
Right now I am so glad about the extension. Because life here in
Kalibo is still good.
farewelled my good housemate Jen
yesterday, she did not apply for an assignment extension and was
happy to go home, back to Australia. And it's not just Jen, by the
end of November all Australian Volunteers here in Kalibo apart from
Allister and me will have left. Particularly Jen's departure will
effect a major change in my life here too. The big house we rented
together would be awfully empty with just me living there. So I will
move back to the little 'Pensione', a small and friendly guesthouse.
My room there will be my base for the remaining two months in the
Philippines. And I am already looking forward to it, it is the same
place where I lived for my first few days after arrival in Kalibo.
And I kept in contact since. It's like closing the circle. And it's
also beautifully close to the office, just across the road. So it
will mean more sleep for me, and probably more time spent with my
friends living in the volunteers office.
return to Australia brought it
back home to me how different our lifes will become soon. She will be
back into her old life, western style, in Sydney. Whereas I am still
in my routine here in Kalibo. It is only a temporary life here in
Kalibo for me but right now it is still my life and the daily
routines I am living through here will soon start to feel strange
again, seen from Australia. Once I am back in Sydney.
do enjoy my time in Kalibo a
lot. There are many happy moments every day. Such as buying bananas
at the market. My banana seller is the most lovely lady you can
imagine. She is probably in her 50s, skinny, black hair, dark tan.
And always, always showing the biggest smile in the world. She will
not let me go past her stall without stopping me, talking to me and
give me some free bananas. We talk half in English and half in
Aklanon language and due to the lack of our respective common
vocabulary we pretty much say the same things every day. And everyone
around us, including the two of us, just laughing! She is my
favourite banana lady.
there's not just a banana lady in
my life, no, there is also a pineapple lady. Almost every day I buy a
sweet pineapple from her, she peels it in a way that it is so easy to
cut and eat, no peel left, no brown spots, just beautiful yellow
pineapple flesh. Sometimes she's not there though and her husband
takes over the stall. And I remember the one morning when I bought a
pineapple from him. The choice was between 3 pineapples, a big one, a
mid size one and a small one. So I picked the big one, paid my 40
Peso and went away. A few minutes later at the other end of the
market someone taps me on the shoulder – it's my pineapple lady.
She's taking away from me the pineapple I bought and gives me the
smaller one instead and 10 Pesos return. Her only comment while
pointing at the big pineapple: 'Maaslum' – 'Sour'. And hey, the
one she gave me was indeed very sweet.
are really adaptive. I'm sure
looking at my everyday's life, what seems so normal while I'm here,
from an Australian viewpoint will look very uncomforable. But it's
not. Walking along the street next to a neverending queue of smokey
tricycles becomes normal. Eating rice three times a day nothing
unusual. Using fork and spoon instead of fork and knife for eating
becomes routine. Living with power outages is easier than expected.
Sharing of resources including motorbike, laptop and camera is just
the way to do it. Everyone in the office is using my laptop. For
presentations, for computations or just simply because it is the only
computer we have that can connect to our printer and scanner. No one
sees anything strange in this.
quickly get used to be around
people all the time, never alone. Quite often when we have workshops
outside Kalibo the whole team stays overnight. And mostly either
sleeps on the floor in a school, sleeps in hotels room with only two
beds. Or even in a tent. Regardless which arrangements have been
made, it's always a sardine style scenario. Easy to get used to.
keep liking the most is the
people and their friendliness, their calm and happy attitude. Again
this month we spent a few days in a school camp, simply on first aid
duty and to teach disaster response skills. But the interesting fact
for me is the behaviour of the kids. They were elementary school
students, so around the 14years age group, plus minus. But you could
not have wished for better kids. The discipline, the team spirit was
just amazing to witness. There was no one or two kids doing stupid
things, or annoying things as you may expect from a large group of
kids of that age. Whenever the teacher was teaching the kids became
silent. Really cool.
the next month, will be
interesting again. For the first three weeks we will be incredibly
busy as most NGO finish their yearly budget and therefore have a lot
of drills and workshops squeezed into December. And of course it's
also Christmas and therefore time of the most significant
celebrations in the Philippines. After Christmas Jayfree and me plan
to go travelling for two weeks to see more of the Philippines main
island Luzon. It will be another good month.
a simulation exercise for a vehicle crash
happy - the rescuers, the victim, the trainers
Rescue Training on the Aklan River
and participants of a 3 day contingency planning workshop
the classroom of Guadalupe Elementary School during an earthquake drill
in the Philippines usually have beautiful compounds with beautiful
gardening and colourful flags. The kids in this picture are all ducking
and covering their head as part of the earthquake drill.
favourite fruit in the Philippines - large sweet pineapples
a school encampment in St Rafael, everyone attentatively listening to
the same school encampment - night shift first aid course
of the school encampment was a really cool nature hike to a waterfall...
through a dense green landscape.
way back we all rode in the back of dump trucks such as this one. It
was a pretty bumpy ride but really cool, another experience I will
never have in Australia. Taking 50 kids and ride on a truck.
team of Seals Rescuers waiting for their shift in Libacao during the
Balsa Parada Festival.
entertainment while waiting for lunch.
Balsa Parada Festival in Libacao is a celebration of the mighty Aklan
River and the beautiful Bamboo Floats travelling along it.
the festival entire houseboats made out of Bamboo were built.
is on the inside of one such houseboat.
designs are quite colourful, such as this 'Banana Boat'.
more beautiful bamboo floats during the Balsa Parada