Participant Blogs

Philippines - The Value of Experience

Lauren - Santa Fe, Philippines

lauren-nutrition

Having been at my project site for over 4 weeks now, the kids and Nanays are finally feeling more comfortable around me and the other volunteers, and are sharing more information with us.  As an outsider coming into their community and lives, I realize we can be hard to trust. We talked about this a lot in GPP, how trying to instill our knowledge on the people can seem forced and unwanted, but having been in placement for so long, I now realize what it is they want to know.  They are finally beginning to trust us and our motives for being there, and communicate more openly with us now, which is amazing!

Since our first Nutrition Lesson, I’ve also seem them looking more at the nutrition posters in the center that we put up, and they have asked us questions about the food we are cooking as well.  The other day, one of the Nanays even approached us to tell us that we didn’t need to buy them as much oil for the meals anymore, because they finally realized that a little bit creates the same flavor as a lot of it.  HALLELUJAH! This was by far one of the best days I’ve had at the project so far.  On top of that, the Nanays seemed particularly chatty with us this day, and shared with us some background on one particular family that is in the feeding program.

This family has four sponsor kids, three siblings, and one cousin.  Out of the entire community, this family is the worse off, and to make it worse, the mother died a while ago, so it is just the father and uncle taking care of them.  As they are the heads of the households, they work often and don’t really have the time or money to create meals for their kids.  The Nanays explained to us that we should be portioning the kids off more food, because they only get fed dinner at home, and sometimes not even that, so half of their daily intake of food is from this feeding program.  This was heart breaking, as the kids in this particular family are some of the most outgoing and friendliest in the group.  For being in such an unfortunate situation, they are always happy to hold my hand as I walk them to school, and always seem to have smiles on their faces.  These kids and their stories are the reason that I love to do what I do, because I realize my time here and help is very short-lived, but it’s the day to day happiness that us volunteers’ create in these child’s lives that makes it worthwhile.  Here is an update to the child’s weights over the past 8 weeks, some of the kids have not attended all of the weigh ins though, so they only have a few dates.

In GPP we talked a lot about the purpose of volunteering and why it is useful, because often times people do it for the wrong reasons.  Having been here for so long, I see that it is naïve to think that you can create change in behavior in such a short time, but daily improvements that are made can be seen as stepping stones into creating a brighter future for so many of these kids. Every day I leave satisfied with my contribution to these kid’s lives, and am proud to be a volunteer that is making some (although small) difference in the world.

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