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Wordless Wednesday 001: Daily chore

My first entry here at Wordless Wednesday.

Kenyan woman

More Wordless photos can be found here.

Finally, in Kenya!

Hey hey hey......hujambo, Kenya!

It's been more than a month  now since my arrival in the country, and wow, Kenya gid! A nice, chilly weather greeted us, contrary to what I was expecting. The flight was a long one. From Manila, it took about five hours to Dubai, where we had a five-hour lay-over. Waiting  for our next flight seemed like forever, and not even the sparkle of the boutiques at the airport boutiques could banish our anticipation. From Dubai, we then boarded another plane for another five-hour flight to Nairobi. Once we were up in the air, my fellow Filipino volunteers became quiet and kept to themselves. Each one was probably was thinking about what lies ahead, their respective families and the friends left behind.

I was told that Nairobi is the safari capital of Africa and I wasn't disappointed! Right after stepping out of the plane and on a VSO vehicle on the way to the hotel that we're supposed to stay for the following days, we saw a herd of giraffes by the roadside. Oh, what a treat. From where we came from, it's not everyday we see giraffes roaming freely like that.

The day after arriving, we immediately had our in-country training and language-lessons together with 18 other volunteers from Uganda, Canada, USA, and England (age range between 28-50) who arrived earlier or on the same day as we did. The best part of it all was -- Inglisanay naman ini! Tapos gid... Namag-uhan naman ako. hihihihi. I like listening to people with difference accents. The Kenyans speak good English but the way they speak is something new to my ears that I need extra attention to be able to understand them. I guess I will get used to the Kenyan accent in due time. While in Nairobi, we stayed at Graciahouse resort near Yaya Center. We were given a room each and the room was big, there's a nice comfy bed and toilet and bath. One volunteer joked that after our stay here, we won't be having the same comforts for a long time. Okay, tell me something I don't know. *lol*. I have already bought a local sim card and I will email to you my number. Better to communicate through sms, cheap and relatively fast. Right now, I'm looking at purchasing a laptop but with the current price, I think it will take me months till I am able to get one.Later in the week, we were joined by our "employers" for a briefing session before taking us to our placement areas.

Pardon the fragmented post... Up to now I am still... overwhelmed - I could not think of a better word. Finally, my dream came true. I am now in Kenya, standing on African soil. I have already begun my work in a community cooperative in far, far Lukore in Mombasa district. Mombasa is popular for its beautiful beaches. What will the people be like to work with, I wonder? Will I be able to cope with the demands of my work despite the many pre-departure preparations that I underwent? So many questions swirling in my head... more stories in my next post.

Miss you all. Prayers... prayers.
Asanti sana (thank you) and kwaheri (goodbye) for now.


Leaving home

It was heart-breaking.
And the agony of  the thought of leaving my son and family for two years was prolonged, no thanks to PAL. My flight to Manila was delayed for hours due to engine trouble. Pero buti na lang din at na-detect kaagad while di pa kami nakasakay.  My son, bless my son, he didn't cry at all when I left. For his young age, he seems to understand why I am going away.

Son: Ma, daku-daku gid imo ya bag. Dugay ka magpuli. Daw pareho kay Tita Mommy sa layo ga-work (my older sister in Cambodia) kag dugay magpuli. Sudlan man nimo damu-damu na transformers  pagpuli mo ha? (Mom, your bag is huge. You will be away for too long. Just like Tita Mommy, she works very far from here and comes home after a long time. Will you put lots of transformers robots in it when you return?)

I felt a pinch in my heart. Yes, my son, Mama will work in a faraway land. And just like Tita Mommy, I will come home no matter how long it will be. Two years will be quick, I know, and I'll be back just in time for your first day in grade school. And yes, with the Transformers toys. When you are older, I will tell you all about it and you will understand why I have to go there.

Okay, enough of the drama.
I still have to finish my inoculations, there's still my yellow fever vaccinations plus two more and I have to get all of this at DOH's Bureau of Quarantine in Manila.  While I'm here in Angeles City with my younger sister, I've managed to book me a room at the Kabayan Hotel where I could stay before flying out on Thursday. Ilang tulog na lang!

My younger sister gave me some moolah so I could buy the sneakers that I like. This pair of sneakers will take me to anywhere in Lukore as I begin my work with VSO, and , hopefully, to anywhere in Kenya when I have the luxury of time to explore this beautiful country. My younger bro in Phnom Penh (Cambodia) sent me some moolah for pocket money. My other (older) sister, also  in Phnom Penh, will also be sending a care package for me through her Kenyan friend in a few weeks. Yes, I haven't flown out of the country yet there will be a care package on its way soon to VSO Jitolee.

I am blessed, thank you Lord. Growing up we all used to squabble a lot. Now that we are all adults, we've matured and mellowed down... I am amazed at how we have come to laugh at our past follies when we were younger, and forgive each other, and support one another whenever the need arises. Thanks very much.

Certified motorcycle driver

Yes... success!

VSO enroled me at the Honda Safety Driving Center in Paranaque for a week-long motorcycle driving course. While my Hippo batchmates returned to their respective hometowns/cities after our WRV, I stayed behind to learn skills and techniques needed in driving and handling a motorcycle in various riding/driving situations. In Kenya where I will be placed, I will be commuting from Mombasa to Lukore by motorcycle that will be provided by VSO Jitolee.

The driving course was easy pero akala ko lang pala yun! I had some repeats dahil hindi sila masaya sa performance ko. I needed to perfect cranking and braking, at kung anu-ano pa. Grabe, I thought I wouldn't pass and would be forced to cancel my already booked flight back home at higit pa dun, I would be paying for the extra sessions straight from my own pocket kapag nagkataon. Buti na lang the instructors were very patient to guide me from one technique to another, and they were strict at times when I seemed to be not paying enough attention. Kaya sa inyo, mga bossing, saludo ako. Salamat sa inyong tiyaga.

Now that I have the thumbs-up sign from the HSDC, it's time to see how I'll fare when I'm already in Lukore. Sana di ako nerbyusin! hahaha.

WRV in Manila

This is now my second post and oh, what to write about?

Well, I survived the week-long (5days) and intensive WRV course, that's Wider Role of Volunteers. The main focus of the WRV course is to equip us volunteers with practical tools and skills useful to our respective placements. The course was pretty much intensive that at the end of each day I had a major headache. But, I have to say that despite the headache, it was an important refresher course, not only for me, but for everyone in my batch. The whole course was excellent, the tutors (some of them former volunteers) were great. No matter how much I think I know and read about Kenya, there are still a lot to know about. The WRV is usually given to volunteers like me who already have a placement and are certain to leave soon.

Here are some photos of our fun moments during the WRV:

                               Introducing the Batch Hippo (Sept  9-13)

                                        Bah, seryoso sila! (serious)

                                         Ayan, nagladlad na! (crazy)

                             Volunteers on mock parade, above and below

Of course, the party after the WRV course won't be complete without the singing...

                            Group singing...


                                           ... the dancing ...

ikembot mo! (sway your hips)

                                           ... and the drinking!

Kami ay mabo-boteng kaibigan!

What a fun-filled 5days it was! Special thanks goes out to Tarcs Taruc, a fellow VSO Volunteer, for all the photos posted above. He has more in his Facebook account. I realized that this is the only and last time our batch will be together as we are all assigned to different countries in Africa and Asia. So, guys, see you all after our respective assignments? Hopefully.

Anyways, while most of my batch have already gone back to their homes, I am still left behind here in Manila to commence my motorcycle riding course, as it is a requirement in my placement, at the Honda Driving Acadameny in Paranaque. It's going to be another 5days, and the expenses such as training costs, transportation, and lodging and accommodation are shouldered by VSO. Thanks for that. Anyways, I am set to leave on the 9th of November and I am already in panic mode as I have yet to do my packing, purchasing of stuffs (if needed), and some other personal errands. Gah. I still have more than 2 months to prepare, and I fervently hope that it will give me enough time.

That's all for now, folks.


This is how the Kenyan's say hello in their native Swahili.
I can't believe it - but in a few more months I'll soon be stepping on African soil! What seemed to be only an unreachable childhood dream is now coming to a reality. In a few more months, I will be flying to Kenya, my country of assignment, as a Volunteer for the VSO. Of course, I am full of worries, about the  unknown, a country, and continent, I have heard and read about...  but it is no time to worry as I have to finish my WRV and motorcycle training next week and other pre-departure requirements in the following weeks.  It will be tough, yes, but how many volunteers had been there and went back home to tell great stories of their experience in Africa.

I can't wait.