The Filipino Dream

I can’t believe our time here is so close to being over. I don’t feel ready to leave!! 
We’ve been working on the rice fields still, fortifying all the banks so they’ll be ready to plant soon. As I mentioned last time, the fields are currently just full of mud. So, last week we ended up having a mud fight between the Americans and the Europeans at the end of work. It was fun and everyone in the community was surprised to see us all completely covered in mud. It wasn’t until we realized that the water still wasn’t running that we decided this may not have been a great idea… We ended up finding a single hose that still has running water and all cleaned off one by one. Once again, this was another unique GK experience. 

On Saturday morning, we had a session with the management team of GK. Some of the interns have faced some frustrations with the work they’re doing. Some people don’t have much to do, while others aren’t able to complete their projects due to lack of funding from the head of the farm, so they feel like their whole time has been wasted. This meeting was a way for everyone to share their frustrations, but also to talk about their experiences and the difference we’re making in some people’s lives just by being here. Some of the people that have been on the farm for years shared their frustrations from when they first got here, but they’re all successful and happy now. While I’ve felt useless or irritated myself in some situations, in general I’ve been very happy with my experience these past 6 weeks. I love the farm and the community and I don’t think I could have had a similar experience anywhere else. In general, I think the meeting was helpful for everyone, since we got to talk to others with similar problems, but also discuss solutions and more positive outcomes of our time here.

Swim lessons have been going ok. Lately, the students have often been showing up late, or not showing up at all (which isn’t their fault, someone else plans this). This is too bad since we want to help the kids as much as possible in our time left. But, hopefully some other interns will take over soon and the lessons can continue. Many of the interns that have been here this whole time with us are actually leaving this week and next, which is also when we’re leaving. It’s so weird saying bye to everyone we have spent every day with these past few weeks. I honestly did not expect to make so many friends from around the world. While I’m so glad I did, this makes leaving even harder. 

Arrangements have finally been made for Nate and I to help out at the school here at GK! Since more students enrolled, Tita Brenda, the teacher, is more in need of help now. So, these past few days, Nate and I spent two hours with the kids. We do some physical activities to get the kids moving, and then work on learning some words and letters through various activities. The kids are between 3 and 5 years old and SO cute. I’m glad this finally worked out and I get to spend at least some time with my original assignment. One thing that makes me sad is that when it rains hard (which it does often – it’s typhoon season) parts of the classroom start getting wet, and the floor floods a little. Everything has to be moved and class gets disrupted. They’re in the process of looking for a better classroom (and this is the best of 4 they’ve had so far). I really hope this works out soon, since it’s taking away from the kids’ learning time. After 6 weeks we also finally got assigned our Tita’s (like our host mom). This is pretty funny since we’re not here much longer, and there’s not really a point anymore. But, I got lucky since Tita Brenda is my Tita and I already have a good relationship with her since I’ve worked with her before. She already invited me to dinner again, which I’m very excited about! 

We spent the past weekend in Manila. It’s always a nice change of scenery from the farm, and a way to eat some different food. One of our Italian friends from the farm actually met us down there. It was a really nice weekend! 

This morning there was a summit meeting at the farm. Some people involved with the farm gave talks and answered questions for everyone. It was nice to hear some other people’s views on the poverty of the Filipinos and how we can make a difference. One of the quotes I really enjoyed from one of the talks is, “The American Dream is all about me, the Filipino Dream is all about we”. While I don’t know if I agree 100% with the first part, the second half really shares the sense of community I’ve been feeling all around GK and the Philippines these past few weeks. 

On Friday, I’ll be heading to another GK community in Manila for the day, and on Sunday I’ll be helping with a community event through the school I’ve been helping with for their nutrition month celebration. I’ll share about how this goes next time! 

2 thoughts on “The Filipino Dream

  1. Really impressing!!
    Would love to be there, but you got to show pictures and tell more stories!
    Have a nice time for the rest of the time abroad, some very interesting places still to come
    Keep care!,


  2. Dear Jessica,

    Excellent insights and understanding of the personal conflicts of learning about another culture and actually working within and experiencing it. Important work of any kind is a series of small steps over a long time. Seldom do a few weeks, months, or years achieve meaningful goals. You are learning that lesson well, while you (and others) consider and ponder why social change isn’t quicker. Societies embody living social structures that outlive generations, and when there is change, it is usually incremental, evolutionary, not revolutionary.

    From my outsider’s view, the few weeks that you have spent interning in the Philippines have been important to your self-growth as an adult, including what I see are glimpses of wisdom. Build on those moments and maintain your self-effacing demeanor in a society of self-absorption. We need future leaders like you.

    Enjoy every minute of your remaining time. Make sure to get the contact info of all the people that you’ve met, because it’s a small world and you’ll never know when a friend or acquaintance in your past returns into your future.

    Prof Sikora


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