Maayong Buntag from the Philippines!

So here I am writing a blog which I didn’t think I’d do. I’ve tried it in the past but haven’t been good at keeping up with it. Here’s my second attempt. I’m almost five months into my journey here so I guess I’ll play catch up with my first blog posts. Keep in mind I’m in no way a good writer but I feel like this is a good way to document my journey and share my experiences with friends and family.

I guess before I even start to tell you what I’ve been doing the first few months I was here though I should probably explain what Peace Corps is and why it is that thousands of us are spread out all over the world.

Peace Corps is a volunteer program run by the United States Government which was launched in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy. The purpose of the program states as follows:

To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the United States qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.

So basically we are all United States citizens who have been sent out to different countries to provide technical assistance to our host countries, to help people outside the US understand American culture and to help Americans understand the cultures of other countries. Us volunteers work with governments, schools, non-profit organizations, non-government organizations, and entrepreneurs in the sectors of education, business, information technology, agriculture, and the environment. Since its establishment the Peace Corps has had nearly 220,000 people join and serve in 141 countries across the world. The Philippines especifically has three main sectors: Coastal Resource Management (CRM), Children Youth and Family (CYF) and Education.

Service lasts 27 months. The first three months are spent at training site learning language, technical skills, culture, medical and safety and security all while living with a host family (I will write another blog about these first three months I spent in country). You are then placed at a permanent site for two years (with possibility of extension).

Now what do I do exactly? That’s a funny question because I have been in the blind about this basically up until this past month (even though some things are still foggy). You see, one of the key traits we need while serving is FLEXIBILITY. You have very little say on where you will be placed and what you will be doing and your placement is based mostly on your past skills and experiences. Basically though, I am a Coastal Resources Management (CRM) volunteer in the Philippines, which is the only Peace Corps country with a CRM sector so I consider myself very lucky. I work at Local Government Unit (LGU), more specifically at their fisheries office. I am to provide technical assistance in a whole range of things marine related, from coral gardening to tilapia farming to environmental education campaigns. I can also participate in secondary projects not related to my sector, for example I can lead camps pertaining to women’s empowerment (I will write a blog on things I’m currently working on). I also still continue to following the other two key missions of Peace Corps which are to teach people here about US culture and to teach people in the US about Philippino culture, which I hope to do through this blog.

SO this is my first blog entry and I’m not sure how to sign off so I’ll just say Daghang Salamat (many thanks) to anyone who read and I welcome feedback/blog topic suggestions J