Michellefraser's Travel Journals

Michellefraser

 
What do you want to do the next time you travel abroad?

learn a language, volunteer in a needy community, work with the environment, experience a new culture through studying, experience a new culture through volunteering, go sightseeing, play tourist, spend a holiday abroad, meet new people, gain professional experience, change the world [somehow], adventure travel

  • 28 years old
  • From London, United Kingdom
  • Currently in London, United Kingdom

6 weeks in Bliss, Philippines

Articles from Philippines Philippines | Sep 14, 2011

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  I left the project every day with such a huge smile on my face it hurt!  

IMPROVE NUTRITIONAL STANDARDS IN TACLOBAN CITY

My nutrition volunteer project in the Philippines was the most fun I've in a very long time, as well as being the most rewarding thing I've ever done.

I met so many incredible people, both Filipino and the volunteers, each with their own story to tell. I'm still a bit depressed about being back in England!

The project involved working from 8-12 in the morning, we would get on a jeepney (the most scary/exciting/wonderfully odd transport I have ever been on) and head to the market to buy food to feed the kids. We had a P400 budget to work with each day, which works out at about £6 and you'd be surprised what we could buy with that. We would be feeding up to 30 kids but the majority of times the kids would get 2nds and even 3rds! It helped that we made friends with all of the market sellers and one of them seemed to reduce her price every time we visited!

We'd arrive at the Barangay Hall (community centre) and prepare and cook the meals, play with the kids a bit (singing songs, drawing) and then serve the food. These are the most grateful kids you will ever meet in your life, and the parents!

Every fortnight we measured and weighed the kids to see if they were growing. It was really great to see their height/weight/upper arm circumference increasing! Made everything worthwhile. The other nutrition volunteers and I also gave a few nutrition seminars to both children and parents about the importance of good nutrition. These were to try and make the project more sustainable, to give the parents and children the knowledge so they could cook nutritious meals on a budget as well!

As well as the nutrition project, I also got the chance to help in a local orphanage one afternoon and do some painting for the "Build a Home" project. Both these were also so rewarding, everyone there was so grateful, even for small things.

It wasn't all just work though, we had most weekends off so went on a few trips away. There were around 10-25 volunteers at a time while I was there. The groups we went away in tended to range from 6-8 people which were nice numbers. These weekends were the cheapest weekends I have ever been on, Biliran was the equilvalent of £30!! I went to Bohol, Borongan and Biliran, all of which were lovely, Bohol especially as there were so many beautiful beaches and so much to see! I fell in love with the Tarsiers and also the incredible amount of geckos there were EVERYWHERE in the Philippines (I even got a tattoo of the latter so I would remember this trip forever!)

I would strongly recommend this project to anyone with a love of nutrition and helping people. You learn so much and I left the project every day with such a huge smile on my face it hurt! Ive never had a job like that in my life and it's cemented my interest in helping developing countries with their nutrition problems. Apart from the jetlag and the massive culture shock, I have no complaints and even those faded away after a week. I want to go back some day and experience everything all over again.

Tags: Philippines , nutrition

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