peace corps, Uncategorized

Volunteer Ako

I met Hillary Clinton a few days ago. Ok, I didn’t really meet her. I was in the same room as her and she administered the oath. I had deeper thoughts than this, let me assure you. However, one of my first thoughts was definitely, “Her head really IS that big!” It was a lot of fun, but a bit less exciting than I thought it would be. Knowing you met someone very important is really cool for about a moment. Then it fades away. Because what good is it? She did not say anything extremely profound. She was there, she spoke a little, and then her and her slightly larger than average head left. The only real significance of the whole experience is that I changed, but not because of her.

I once was a trainee. I am now a volunteer. I have a much stronger sense of purpose. I feel like this whole experience can actually start now. But I’m also terrified. I will be alone. Not completely alone, there is a PCV very near to me. However, she is working in an entirely different sector. I doubt we’ll see each other a whole lot. But life surprises me, my new host brother (Clark) is a co-worker of hers, thus, we might see each other more than I realize. But for the most part my life will be filled with broken Tagalog/English conversations, Filipinos, food that is in someways still unfamiliar to me, and nobody to have a deep meaningful conversation with.

I am a bit nervous about my work. You see, the lady I am supposed to be working with is an English teacher. A lot of people would assume that means she can speak English. However, that is not entirely the case. She seems very kind, however. I just know that I am going to spend a lot of time frustrated. And that is a very stressful thing to know and even more stressful to deal with.

I’m sitting here in Manila. Too many things are on my mind. I want to type a post that doesn’t jump topics like nuts, but it’s just not one of those days. Manila is such an insane town. It basically feels like any big city in the states. Thus Manila feels familiar. However, it is unfamiliar. I can’t really figure out why either. Is it the street children constantly begging for money (PC does not allow us to give money, just food and information)? Is it the baklas (homosexuals) that perform and also ask for money? Is it the uncomfortable feeling you get when you see the “GRO’s” (prostitutes)? Or is it something wrong inside of me? I don’t know. Being in Manila makes me wish I was helping those kids. Watching their dirty faces and bodies soliciting anything possible, watching them jump naked into the trash infested waters of Manila Bay, watching their mothers hit them and push them towards foreigners (me) is all too much. It’s hard for me to fill satisfied just teaching English when I see stuff like that.

Despite feeling like a lost soul livin’ in a fishbowl, I’m optimistic. I hope I can motivate my school to start programs that help people and the environment. There is a whole lot of superficial environmentalism here (much like the states, but a bit different), but I think I can change that into real passion if I work hard enough. Also, the volunteer that was at my site before mine did a lot of work with an organization that works with people in difficult predicaments. I just gotta’ make my time here worthwhile.

Brandon wants to change the world, you know?

I feel like this is my first step.

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –


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