Thursday, October 27, 2005

 

It's been awhile

Well it's definitely been awhile since my last post so let's see how much I can remember.
Well since that last rugby tournament I have played a few games. we just finished the 7's league last weekend where we won the boys, women's and men's A and B division. We were kind of short on players so me being one of the youngest on the team, i played for all three teams last weekend and had a blast! I even got player of the day for scoring the game winning try in the last minute of play so that was cool.
I went home for my brothers wedding last week and it was the best vacation I ever had. I hung out with Nichole mostly and ate some great food and of course I went to the keg to have my favorite meal the sirloin oscar. The wedding was a blast! the ceremony was beautiful but not as beautiful as the bride, and the reception lasted all afternoon and well into the night where the galacher/ mcgill clan danced the night away until they turned the music off and kicked us outta there! A great night was had by all.
Now I'm back to work at the center. The kids had the week off school so I created some activities for them to play. Tuesday we had a volleyball tournament, wednesday we did a scavenger hunt where the kids worked in teams and answered question about Pilipino history, math and of course they had to scour the community in search of hard to find item like lizards, frogs and mango's that are non existent cause they are out of season. I love trick questions but i gave them points for getting mango leaves off the tree. Yesterday my friend Jef came up and taught the kids how to make christmas cards and bookmarks. Surprisingly the kids loved it and made some beautiful cards that the center will sell for some money to go to the center. and Today jef my other friend matt who is in town too and me will go with the boys to a resort to swim and have a good time singing videoke with the staff. This weekend I'll be heading to Baguio with matt and meet the rest of the CSE staff to discuss projects and have some brainstorming sessions on future projects on a bigger scale in which we can work together to create something sustainable and all inclusive for the entire DSWD, so we'll see how that goes. I hope everyone is doing well. I'm a little home sick but am getting over it like usual I have good days and bad so I'll keep at it and do what i do. take care everyone!

John

Monday, August 29, 2005

 

What's new

Hello Everyone,

There is not too much to report on right now. I have been working at the center more and started working with the special education class in the city. The focus is on basic reading and writing skills and some basic sign language for a few deaf students. I think in all there are 30+ students coming from my center, the girls center and kids from private citizens. The class is going pretty well. The teacher is great and there are always volunteers from schools to help but they come and go alot because they just have to fill the volunteer work for their course work. There has been definite progress and hopefully the program will gain strength and a little more funding for a skilled staff.
The soccer tournament ended on a sour note. The kids had to forfeit their final game because the staff at the center had no transportation for them. They were all dissapointed but I told them we would try continue with games later on. After I come back from the trip in October, the coaches from my rugby team are going to train the kids in touch rugby so they can play against a few other orphaniges and the NGO in Angeles who are sponsored by the local rugby organizations. For me I have started assisting with the under 19 football team in Tarlac to get them ready for their national tourney in September and I play with the men's team. We'll play a tournament in December.
Just this last weekend I attended the fat boy 10's rugby tournament in Angeles city with my team the Manila nomads. It was 10's instead of 15 players and it was a blast. I think the total amount of money that was raised for the NGO orphanage was over 150,000 pesos. We had a great time playing and WE WON! After the tourney we had a great dinner with delicious food and the awards were presented, then we went out on the town to celebrate.
That's all the news for now. I'll be leaving for manila tomorrow to attend the two week training then a few friends and I are going to the beach for a few days before heading back to our sites. I'm excited to come home! The time is fast approaching and I'll see you all soon. Take care.

John McGill

Sunday, August 07, 2005

 

Soccer, rugby and training oh my!

Hello everybody,
How is everything going back home? I have received some packages from the states and enjoyed them very much, ecspecially the almond rocas and maxim magazine. Time is going by pretty quickly now. I have a two week training to go to in September and after that I'll be coming home soon! I can't wait. It's hard to believe that I have been here for so long already.
Well let me recap you on the events of the last couple of weeks. The opening ceremonies of the kids soccer tournament was on July 30th. Our numbers went from about nine to sixteen the week before the tournament with the addition of some kids from the elementary school. They practiced hard and were very excited to show their stuff on the field. Before the tournament we had a parade which included all the teams and four elementary drum teams. After that I was introduced and gave a 5 minute speech all in tagalog about the boys and how they came to enter the tournament and so on. It wasn't easy but I did pretty well. After the speeches the drum teams competed and I was one of the judges along with the old goalie from the philippine national team. I didn't know what to vote on so I just did the best I could and the teams seemed content with the decision.
Our boys played the first game against A team from burot elementary. They played tough and stayed in it until the end. The final score was 0-1 Burot but my kids were happy about how they finished.
After the game I caught a bus to Angeles about an hour and a half away to play the Philippine Air force in a rugby game with my team the Manila nomads at Clark Air force base. This was the first time the PAF has played contact so we mixed the two teams together to be fair and had a great time. It really fun to get back on the field again after four months of not playing but I have to admit that my fitness is terrible. I was dead tired after 10 minutes of playing. After the game we had a social in Angeles and went out on the town after that. It was a great time, all the guys are great and from all over the world like France, Australia, England and South Africa.
After the rugby game I had to go to Silang, Cavitte by Manila for a two day peace corps warden training. I am the warden or person responsible for knowing where all other volunteers in my province are. They also trained us on procedures if we have to consolidate or evacuate from our sites. It was a beneficial training and it was fun to see some friends I haven't seen since we seperated 3 months ago.
When the training was over we all went to Manila to spend a night on the town. we played pool, talked about our experiences and shared our feelings about what we think of peace corps so far. We also went to a bar that played some great music like the cure and other great bands. Most of the music over here is Bon Jovi or black eyed peas. It gets annoying sometimes but it was great to go to a bar that played good music. After that bar we visited the hobbit house. that bar is owned by a former peace corps volunteer and all the employees are hobbits or midgets or little people whatever you want to call them. It was a cool place but dangerous the building seems made for midgets it has low entry ways and many dangerous spots for tall people but it was fun anyways.
After Manila I headed up to Baguio for a night to watch a movie and eat some good pizza but the bus took forever to get there so we only had time for the pizza. After Baguio it was time to go back home and get the kids ready for the soccer game. They played two games this weekend. they tied the first game but showed dramatic improvement from the week before. The second game was against the best high school team in the province. The game stayed 0-0 until don bosco high scored in the final minute. I was so proud of the boys. They played their hearts out and are even more excited to get back on the field next weekend. It was a whole day event this time we had a picnic during games and some trainers taught the kids some new things during breaks. I also played a game with the adults after the tournament was over. That was pretty fun but again I am terribly out of shape.
I also had a visit from my peace corps supervisor. The first thing he said when he got out of his vehicle was that my site stinks. I told him about the twenty goats we have and the huge piggery across the street. I thought it was funny he said that because I don't smell anything out of the ordinary anymore. Anyways we talked to my supervisor at site and she said i'm doing a good job. we discussed future projects and what my role is at the center. After the meeting we went out to dinner with the other PCV in the city and talked about things. It was a fun night. Well that's all for now. I hope everything is going well back home and by the way can someone tell Jarret to give me his e-mail address and also I'd like to see some more pictures from back home if you can hook that up dad. I love you all and can't wait to come back in October.

John McGill

Thursday, July 21, 2005

 

Events of July

Hello all,

How is everyone doing back home? Congratulations to Ryan and Jayna, Nichole told me about the proposal. I am so happy for you two. I wish you both the best of luck in the future but I'm sure you won't need luck you two are great together.
Well I am doing alright over here. There is not too much to report on. I joined a rugby team in Manila a few weeks ago and I go down and practice when I can. right now we are not allowed into Manila because of the protests but they'll let us back soon so I can get a practice in before a tournament in late August. I went to practice two weekends ago and it was really fun. The team are mostly people from different countries like Australia and Brittain. they are all nice and the field is really great. I was also able to hang out with my friend Jef from Solano who is studying for the accountancy exam in Manila. It was great to see him again, we saw a movie, I introduced him to a javanila shake from seattles best coffee, he showed me the sights of Manila like Rizal park, city hall and the waterfront. It was a very beatiful place to visit. Too bad I forgot my camera. After that we just talked until my bus came. It was a really fun weekend.
The kids at the center are doing fine, they are attending school and doing what kids do. We are down to nine kids on the soccer team now. Every week we have less kids for practice and the tournament starts next weekend so I don't know if we are going to participate in the tournament if none of the other kids join back up.
As for me I was in the hospital for about a week. The doctor said I had influenza and some fluid in my right lung. I just got out today and seem to be doing better, but I am still tired all the time and have a bit of a cough. For most of this month I have been in kind of a funk. My demeanor is very calm and I can't seem to get excited about learning the language or finding new ways to play with the kids. I'm not sure what's going on with me but I hope to get out of this funk eventually. It probably has to do with my sickness. I let the illness get pretty bad before going to the doctor.
Well that's all for now. I miss you all back home and enjoy hearing from you so write a comment please. Okay until next time, keep it real!

John McGill.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

 

my first project in Tarlac

Hello Everyone,

I have been here in the Philippines for three months now, and am settling down in Tarlac. I have met some people, the staff at the center is starting to like having me around and the kids love to hang out with me even though the language barrier frustrates them. Thank god for sports who needs words to play basketball.
Well I have started my first project here at the center. It's a soccer tournament for the region. High schools from all over the region will be competing in a one month tourny starting on July 3oth. A counselor from the mayor's office has agreed to help us out. They have invited us to play in the tourney, they gave us a coach, balls, shoes and transport to the field for practice. They also made me a member of the soccer federation here in Tarlac, which means I go to the meetings and help with the development of the sport here in Tarlac. everyone in the club is very nice and have offered to help the kids get ready for the tourney. All the kids are excited to learn soccer and they are all behaving better now that they have something that they don't want to be taken away. It's hard to discipline kids or get them to follow rules when there's no consequence. now there is. I have a language tutor now and am getting better every day. I hope everyone at home is doing well and getting ready for the summer. I am jealous you guys went to the cabin. I miss that place alot. Anyways that's all for now. Kita Tayo mammaya.

John McGill

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

 

Ano?

Hello everyone. I entitled this text Ano? because that's what I say over here all the time. Ano means what in tagalog. I have been at my permanent site for almost two weeks now and am starting to feel comfortable here in Tarlac City. Since I wrote the last blog I have officially sworn in as a peace corps volunteer, danced in a traditional costume which was pretty much a G-string, I'll try to find a picture of it. I have also met alot of officials in Tarlac City including the Governor, Chief of police, Mayor and other heads of office. I met the regional sports coordinator and convinced him to work on a project to train the kids at my center how to play soccer. he is also going to provide the entry fee for the league and some trainers to help in coaching. I am slowly learning the language, I just hired a tutor from the local University and The principal at the elementary where my kids go helps me with free lessons when he's available. On the weekends I have been traveling. I have gone to Bagiuo the last two weekends and met some friends from peace corps. It's nice there because the weather is much cooler. I have definitely gotten used to the hot climate though. This weekend I will go up north to visit a friend who lives on top of a mountain. We are going to hike through old japanese tunnels and go to some world war two battle fields.
Other than that I just read books, go to the internet cafe in town and hang out with my kids at the center and supervise them at school and at night I help them with their homework. They are nice kids but a few of them still have their guard up with me. It will just take more time and more language classes. I hope Dad, Uncle Tom, Uncle John, and PaPa had a nice father's day. I talked to mom and dad on Father's day which was a very nice conversation. I miss everyone very much and realize what I left behind every day. It's not easy but I just have to keep going. Well that's all for now. Until next time.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

 

fun with filipinos

How is it going over in the states? everything is good here. I'm back in Bayombong/Solano hanging out. We have been very busy facilitation hub meetings and meetings for the day camp tomorrow. I just finished the lesson plan and will have the computer class and day camp on Friday the 27th. I have made some good quality friends here and I am very happy about that. two very good friends are actually filipinos jef and dave. jef just went back to Manilla to study for his accountancy board exam in October and when he passes god willing I will go to his party when I get back from the states. I am doing well babe. I usually have one bad day for every 5 good days so the odds are in my favor. i love myhost familiy here it's going to be hard to leave them come June, but I'll be visiting often and my host brother is coming to stay with me in december so that will be great. I forgot my camera so I'll have to post pictures after the day camp and brgy. basketball game. It's the volunteers vs. the community team so that will be fun. I am definitely going to give Jarret a run for his money when I get back to the states. If I want to play sports here the only option is basketball and I am getting very good. The rain has started to come. It's usually sunny hangaang alas kuatro pagkatapos nito it starts raining until alas ocho o alas nuebe. We still get alot of sun and I am acclimated to the weather already. When I visited Baguio a couple weeks I got chills. Baguio is the coolest place in the Philippines and when I went it was a frigid 70 degrees farenhiet. Brrrrrrrrrrrr! seriously brrrrrr. So needless to say I am going to freeze my butt off when I come back in October. How is everyone doing back home. Is rocky still biting people, is Jason and Roberta busy planning the wedding and house situation, how is PaPa tell them hi for me. I've heard that everyone are becoming dart professionals high ton huh. not too shabby. All my filipino basketball buddies are looking forward to seeing Jarret come and play basketball seeing as how they get a kick out of when I dunk they'll love to see the McGill brothers hit the court. Oh, and Jason Tarlac city has a beatiful golf course designed by a world renowned golf course architect. mabuti mabuti oo? Anyways I would like to receive e-mails from everyone, it really helps me over here, I am having a great time but it still gets lonely, there's no getting around that aspect of travelling abroad. It's crazy to see all the families over here who are seperated for years at a time due to overseas workers. The number of filipinos working abroad is huge, and if you came here you would see why. The people are great and very eduated but they are very underpaid, overworked and underappreciated. So many of them choose to leave from a very young age. It's bad for the Philippines but it also keeps country afloat. I think the amount of money coming from overseas workers is in the billions and billions of dollars per year. It's basically 30 to 40 percent of the philippine economy. The Government also pays 1/3 of their annual income to their huge foreign debt to other countries. When I look at all the filipinos who leave their families i feel less alone because I know there are so many families and young people in my same position. I think I have babbled on long enough and I don't really feel like spell checking so try to comprehend my sentences. ingat. Kita tayo mammaya.

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