Last week I traveled to Negros (pronounced neg-ros) with a few other Volunteers to assist with the PYAP Youth Leader’s Encampment, where I co-facilitated a Project Design and Management (PDM) training. We arrived Monday night, and ate in the house of the future host family for one Volunteer in the incoming batch. They had delicious food, and wanted to hear advice about hosting their incoming American (which we were happy to provide in exchange for said food). Tuesday we prepped all of our sessions for the camp, and finished just in time to watch the sun set at the beach.
358 youth arrived early on Wednesday morning, and we kicked off the camp with a short parade through the town, then got to work.
The first day was devoted to forums and trainings, covering the topics of HIV/AIDS, Illeagal Drug Awareness and Prevention, Values Formation, and PDM. Most of the 358 youth cycled through these topics, but PDM is pretty intensive, so our forty participants, stayed with us all day (and the next day). The first night, after dinner, there was a cheering competition, followed by some team-building games.
Day two of the camp also began pretty early, and focused on Livelihood Trainings including, hair cutting, make-up, candle making, manicure/pedicure, and accessory making. Like on day one, the PDM participants stayed in the PDM training while the other youth rotated through the other activities. When we completed the PDM training, I became a model in the manicure and make-up trainings.
By Thursday afternoon, our PDM youth had created projects that they hoped to conduct in their community, and had come up with some pretty ambitious issues to tackle. They presented their ideas that afternoon to some members of the Local Government Unit, and their projects covered a wide range of topics like, educating every member of the town on proper waste segregation, an alternative learning program combined with a feeding program to combat child labor in their communities, promoting increased transparency in local government spending to fight corruption, on-going sports activities in all neighborhoods to combat illegal drug use, and many more. If all (or any) of these projects are carried out, I can’t wait to see what this city looks like in five or ten years.
Camp finished late on Thursday night with an award ceremony and talent competition, but unfortunately I wasn’t feeling great and missed the talent show (where I was supposed to be one of the judges).
Friday we woke up early one last time and headed to near-by Lawakon Island for some ocean-side event processing.
Saturday, on our way to the airport, we stopped at The Ruins, a beautiful mansion that was burnt down during World War II to prevent the Japanese from using it as a headquarters or barracks on the island. Then we boarded our plane back to Manila.
I am still in Manila this week, with my fellow Boholano Volunteers, hoping to return to my second home by the end of the week.