Friday, November 30, 2007

Our Cat's

Remember, when we had a kitten named "Little Girl"? Well, she turned out to be a he and now we call him Little Rowdy. Another kitten ambled over to our place one morning and never, now we have a female kitten named, "Lola", because we were not sure if he was a she ( like the song). Lola is also the Tagolog word for Grandmother. At first we were not letting Lola in the house, so I am sure the neighbors thought we were odd, when we were saying "Lola! you're not allowed in the house, step back!" She has wiggled her way into the house.... I have come to find out that ginger cat's tend to be male and tortoise cat's tend to be female. So, now we know, in case we have any future questions.
Sherry's Organic Farm Site
History of the Farm

ENCA Farm has been in the Acop and Cosalan Family for three generations. It is named after Enrique and Carmen Cosalan, the second generation to operate the farm after they inherited it from their parents. They spent most of their lives tilling their farm, growing fruits, vegetables and raising animals to feed and educate their 11 children about the importance of sustainable
organic farming and the history of the Ibaloi Culture.

Today the farm is experiencing rejuvenation after many years of environmental destruction due to the Santo Nino Mines and illegal logging practices. The vision for the farm is to create a space where indigenous Ibaloi Organic Farming practices are being preserved and taught throughout
the community. This space will be used as a key educational venue for teaching the importance of sustainable farming, land preservation and environmental education. It will also provide a wonderful retreat for those visitors coming from the larger cities and allow them to experience the peace and serenity that comes from spending time in beautiful, natural

Anyone can volunteer and work at the farm through the following site; scroll down and on the left hand side click on the "Other Countries/WWOOF Independent lists and you will find ENCA farms:

From here onward Sagada will always be a part of Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Long time no post. Well check out our three new slide shows. The first two our from our recent trip to Japan. Holy shit is Japan expensive. And a few pics from our mid service training.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Next step was to scribble with both hands!

After the closed eyed scribbling, they had to see if they c ould find any fimaliar shapes within the scribbles. We found alot of "itlog" or eggs, "bundok" or mountains and "isda" or fish( things they see or eat everyday)

Art Therapy Group. We instructed the girls to close their eyes and start scribbling! It was met with apprehension, beacuse they wanted to make sure they were doing it "right" and not "wrong", but in the end they had a lot of fun that day, assured that nothing in art therapy group is ever "wrong".

Here we are doing the "cat/dog" breathing pose.

My Yoga Girls at my center.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our friends, Abby, Owen ( who's site is on Midoror), Reyna and Carrie came to visit us this past weekend for an early 4th of July party. We had everything from hanburgers, corn on the cob, potatoe salad and baked beans. The day Abby & Owen arrived we did not have power all day long- 9AM-9PM. After leaving their place on Mindoro at 8AM- they got here 12 hours later. The next day two more friends arrived, carrie and reyna and it was offically a party with the grilled hamburgers. Saturday we all went to the river about an hour from site, which offered us cold river water and mountain breezes. A nice respite from the heat at our site. We had a great time just talking, venting and laughing at ourselves. Good times and good memories.

I think this is about the 20th picture we tried taking with everyone's camera- carrie has ducked behind reyna and abby.

Owen trimming the beef so he can cook us Beef Bourguignon!! It was deliciously amazing!!

Trying to get a nice photo of just the girls, but carrie always has to have a joke face on!!

L.G. looking for something to drink.

Our friends, Abby & Owen
Hanging out IN the river.

Patrick floating down the river. We rented inner tubes for P30 each for the day.

Hanging out at the river.

Reyna trying to get the bottle open...

We are trying to get this bottle of soda opened

Enjoying an early 4th of July BBQ with friends (patrick, reyna, carrie, abby and owen).
What is Girls LEAD Camp, you say? Well, it’s an amazing four day camp that expands on the life skills groups taking place at two DSWD centers in Region 3 as well as teaches the participants how to facilitate their own workshop so they can return to their centers and echo the workshops to other residents. Sustainable? Siempre! There is even our cherished and sometimes elusive staff capacity building with having 5 Filipino counterparts involved with every step of the camp from fund raising, to facilitating workshops. Grand goals, but completely attainable. That is not to say we did not run into a few hiccups, like the DWSD Regional Director not approving the initial camp venue in Laguna because it was out of Region 3, three of my camp participants attempted to run away from the center two weeks prior to the camp and donated transportation fell through for both centers at the last minute amongst others.

Our first Girls LEAD Camp occurred on June1-4, 2007 held in San Fernando Pampanga at SACOP. The staff at SACOP were quite generous and gave us a substantial discount so we could afford to use their dorm rooms, conference room and cater 3 meals a day for us. We had 20 camp participants; ten from Haven Pampanga, which is Carrie’s center and ten girls from my center, Home for Girls in Palayan City. We had 9 facilitators, 4 of which were PCV’s ( Sherry Manning, Suzie Witmer, Carrie Spilecki and me) and 5 Filipino counterparts . The girls arrived just before noon for lunch and they were all so pleased with the accommodations as it had air con and “walang lamok”( no misquitos). We started a bit late, but got warmed up with a few ice breakers facilitated by Sherry. She knows a bunch and it helped loosen up the girls and the facilitators alike. Our first day went very smoothly with workshops where the girls had to voice their opinions on hot button topics like family planning availability and child limitation laws. We also had workshops about clear communication. Every night after dinner we would have a fun chunk of time for team building games and a dance party and on our second night we had a talent show. Also each night to wind down the evening and get everyone ready for bed, we scheduled time for the girls to journal on topics we had addressed earlier in the day and about the overall feelings for the camp.

After this first day we were feeling pretty good about the camp, but still not sure how the girls would be the second day which was a full day of activites starting at 6AM for yoga until 10PM which was lights out. Yoga was a great way to introduce a new activity as well as get them ready for the day. Everyone showed up on time and ready to begin. Our first full day started with workshops on cause and effects, a future visualization exercise which lead into a workshop on goal planning and ended with a workshop asking the girls to think about past achievements or memorable things that have happened in their life and then to think about what they would like to happen in their future. All of the facilitators were so pleased with the pace of the camp, how the girls were behaving and how they were responding to the workshops. All through out the workshops there were 20 heads bent down taking notes and actively participating. Our Sector Manager Ambet, Yangco was able stopped by on his weekend to observe the camp and talk with the girls. This second night we had the talent show, which was slightly marred by the fact that Carrie had gotten a gash on her foot and had to go to the hospital. Luckily a there was one located near by and they gave her a quick stitch and she was ready to sing “ It takes Two ” by Rob Base for the talent show even with her stitch. Sherry sang “Ice Ice Baby” and it got everyone up on the dance floor. We even had a break dancing circle.

Some of us were feeling a little nervous about day 3 as this was the day the girls would learn how to facilitate a workshop and pick out the workshops they wanted to echo back at the center. The girls were divided by center and then paired off so that each center would have 5 workshops echoed back at their centers. Well, the girls surprised us yet again and although they were only required to sign up for one workshop, some wanted to sign up for two. We designed the third days schedule to give enough structured time to work on the workshops together as pairs with all the facilitators available to help. The pairs were then required to conduct a mini echo which consisted of the ice breaker they would do prior to their workshop and then the first 30 minutes of their actual workshop. This practice time was vital in their confidence level so we could set them up for success. That night we closed the evening with trust building activities.

All of the facilitators were on a camp “high” because we were seeing girls blossom right in front of our eyes in 3 days. The girls thrived in the structured and supportive environment. Our Filipino counterparts wowed us with their dedication to come work on a weekend and to also be as highly involved and participatory as the camp required of everyone. It was truly a cooperative effort. Our last day of camp, Sherry facilitated the spider web game where you have yarn and throw it to another person to make a web and say something about the camp. We asked that the girls say one goal they will work on for the next year. After everyone had said their personal goal the yarn was cut and everyone made something to wear from it like a bracelet or necklace so it can be a physical reminder of what their goal was. We handed out certificates to their girls and our counterparts. We also had a candle light ceremony where a candle was passed around a circle and we all stated something we learned while at camp. There were some tears and it was wonderful to see and hear positive effects.

So, the blue string of yarn on my wrist that I have been wearing since June4, 2007 is a physical reminder that I will implement another Girls LEAD Camp within the next year! As we all kept on saying "Ulit, Ulit" which means "repeat, repeat".

The day before camp begins we are on our way to the venue via public transportation with tons of bags and boxes with our camp supplies!!

The manual for the camp that we created.

First Day of Camp- Me with Carrie and Suzie