Thursday, October 13, 2011

1 year remaining..

I am almost through rainy season which has been a grrrrrind to say the least.  Two weeks back we had our worst typhoon (at least here on my island).   It provided extremely powerful winds and rains that never seem to want to quit.  We were without power for about 18 hours and no work gets done during these typhoons because nobody wants to go outside.  They are a test your mental capacity to its utmost breaking point.. I think I spent most of my time reading, attempting to cook food, sleeping, and getting munched on by mosquitos.
I had some ringworm that I have since gotten under control thanks to the wonders of anti-fungal cream.  I had a mosquito bite on the back of my leg that got infected and it turned into ringworm.  Not the most pleasant thing to be sporting on the back of your leg, so I am glad that is gone now.  I am training for a ½ marathon in mid-December and I have developed some gnarly blisters in between my pinky and next bigger toe (not sure what that one is called).  Other than that I am as healthy as I can be.       
In the month of September my counterpart and I progressed on implementing our sanctuary in Avila.  We have elected a management committee made up of influential stakeholders in the community and also representatives from the local government unit.  The management committee wrote a resolution to the municipal government stating that the marine sanctuary was to be protected and enforced.  Currently, it is being reviewed by a committee called the SB and should be enacted into law by the end of October. 
We conducted environmental education to Avila elementary school; students were composed of 5th and 6th grade students, about 50-60 kids.  I lectured on the establishment of the sanctuary and the significance of conserving marine resources.  My counterpart gave a lecture on organic farming and my supervisor made some opening remarks.  The overwhelming majority of students come from households reliant on on fishing, so it was a very relevant lecture.  In closing, we invited the students to participate in a coastal clean-up that I had organized the following week…. And or course took lots of pictures!

An engaged and enthusiastic student asking me a question

We had our coastal clean-up in front of our sanctuary on the last Sunday in September.  Much to our delight about 30-40 kids from the elementary school came to participate in the clean-up.  Other participants included the barangay council of Avila, 4-H club of Guimaras (out of school youth), and local fisherfolk.  We spent about 1.5 hours cleaning up the beach and found some interesting things: diapers, batteries, clothes, sandals, beer/liquor bottles, and tons of plastic.  It was a really great event to raise awareness not only about our sanctuary, but the deterioration of coastal resources due to the immense pollution problem here in the Philippines.  We still have two more schools to conduct environmental education to; one more elementary school and one high school.

Cleanin' the beach

Majority of the participants 

I got on the municipal basketball team again!  The season starts October 29th and there is 8 teams participating in the league.  I do not think the mayor is going to be playing with us this year because he injured his back a few months back.  We tended to get more whistles in our favour when he was playing with us because he is the mayor after all.  I’m hoping he is at least on the bench so the referees can sense his presence.  We should have another strong team that will contend for the championship again.  I am hoping I do not get injured like I did last year when I broke my thumb in the semi-finals against the Police who eventually went on to win the league.
This weekend I am headed to Bacolod City for Masskara festival.  It is the equivalent of Mardi Gras here in the Philippines… well almost, I don’t think there are any beads involved.  There are teams that compete in dancing, costume, best mask, etc.  About 25 PCVs will be going and most of us are staying in a school sleeping on mats.  I’m looking forward to enjoying this festival that everyone in my region talks about.   
Dason lang,