Cross cultural communication -The Health Buff

I felt quite challenged and at the same time inspired by my host-home counter part-katie, to at least update and organize my blog. She has been updating her blog about her volunteer experience in the country.This is I think the 2nd week that I am with the team, and as part of being cross-culturally linked, we shared lots of informations and perceptions about a lot of stuff.

Going back and challenge the old lifestyle…

I am not really a health buff, because I find not ‘cool’ to become one but a neccessity though to be one; my host-home counterpart (hhc), is much more into doing an exercise every morning and she’d been into participating in a marathon (in UK). I find it strange as well, that I run walk and run, but she does all the running, and I felt I am not fit, or I am weak beacuse I can’t even at par with her. After the jogging/running, I find strange as well to pay a visit to the gym, (I thought if you ran already that is enough, but I was wrong, I even don’t know how to use the gym equipments that they have, and much more acquainted with muay thai than weight lifting). It was fun yet exhausting, Bev(another volunteer) and I were doing some stretches, I had enough, like, I’m not really used to that kind of excercise to be fit, but for them, it is the usual thing.

The not so healthy advise

My hhc, has been anxious if she’s been being rude with our Host Homes, since she got the spotlight (well, Filipino culture will tell 🙂 ), and even skeptical about having rice in every meal. She has a lot of the dishes but not of the rice. She even disclosed the information that in England, she only have rice once a week, which in contrast in the counrty we favor rice in each and every meal.

It may sound strange that I even suggested that she takes all the dishes(ulam) first, and have the rice the last thing to be put in the plate; but here I am, in every meal loves to have rice and I think a cup and a quarter of it.

In most tropical countries like the Philippines, you can see a lot of coconut trees (buko), which has lots if not tons of nutrition and or vitamins in it. Last saturday (20 Sept.), we went to the poblacion/bayan to do some community mapping, we went to other volunteers’ HH, and we had lots of food (if I can say a food overload? 🙂 );our group saw a buko stand and the UK volunteers tried to have some coconut juice. Unfortunately, the buko juice that they bought was not the fresh one, it has sugar in it and not the lil’ bit sour in taste of fresh buko.

Last 22nd day of September, my hhc and I had our first fresh buko experience after we sent some package/ did the postal thing at the post office near our house. It was fun yet another out of the box thing for the both of us having it tried for the first time(for her) and doing it like a local. We felt full already and want to skip our dinner but we don’t want to offend anyone in the house so, we still had a sumptuous dinner. 😀


Volunteer work

Away from comfort zone for the next three months without even knowing what will happen- only a  hint that it will be a life-changing experience and opportunity for the participants. Willing to take the challenge to change the world? We’ll see.
On the assessment day, it was a fun yet challenging event. We were six (6), who have nearly the same background. We got our imagination travel at its finest and worked out too much to address various dilemmas in the placement.
Time came that we need to face the reality; work that was left, defense for MA, facing the world of underemployment and or unemployment, buzz of mobile phones, the buzzzzz of cars during rush hours and people who were in hurry to beat the time when they go to work.
I did not expect that I would be shortlisted for the programme; though, questions arise, I set them aside. What is more important for me right now is how will I able to maximize all the support and even the trust that was given to me by the organization and even my family.
It was a tough decision to tell to my parents that I will be out for 3 months. knowing our family being close to each other, we find these things as a serious one already.
To make this entry short, I will limit it into three (3):
1. Self-discovery and personality development
– I just read in an article via online  by Thomas G. Fiffer emphasizing on ” stay only where you are valued”. It made me think that if I want something to change and even the way I do my routine, I should find myself in an organization wherein I am and/will be valued not because I can be underpaid but because I am capable of making a difference. Moreover, self-discovery and soul searching does not happen only once, it is an everyday routine and learning to love who you are is at most important.
2. A chance to change the world
– i have this fetish dream of eradicating poverty in the world, those poor countries will have an access to a world class medication when get sick, children will go to school and eat three (3) square meals a day, and there will be no poor in any country.- – – –  that was before I enter the university and understand that the real world is not working in synch with the facets of the academe. why is that so?  is it really possible to end the world with no poor? can we really make it that all the new born children will have an access to world-class medical facilities and even practices regardless weather they came from urban or rural?
3. Re-aligned perspectives
– I could still remember the first instance that I was able to talk with an indigenous tribe in my grandma’s hometown. It was quite absurd at that moment that I want to talk a lot to a stranger, asks various questions from how are they able to bring the baskets above their heads and still able to cross several rivers, tedious long walks and even the most frightening of all-when their tummy aches. They must endure the pain in return for a can of sardines a kilo or rice which upon returning home will be consumed by all the family members. That was the time I realized how lucky I am to finish my degree and even have a job.
Yep! I have a job, but my body still craves for more, more adventure, more things to see, more sceneries and more people to chat with. My mind and body keeps on telling me to let it go.. like the popular disney movie, it does not matter anymore, (for me) if I am earning big bucks or waiting in vain. This trip or should I say field work will be a test of character, of someone’s personality, will you take the challenge to change the world? Let’s see!