I moved in with my first host family just 3 days ago, which has been a fantastically enjoyable experience so far… but don’t let the title fool you, that’s not what this post is about!
The 25 Coastal Resource Management Volunteers have been split into 3 groups, each living in a different neighborhood, a few kilometers apart. My group is the smallest; 5 members in the biggest barangay (neighborhood). We’re each staying with a different host family but are all within 5-10 minutes walking distance and meet up daily for lessons (language and technical). We had yet to see each others’ houses, so when we ended our language lessons early this morning, we thought it would be great to walk each other home and scope out our different living conditions. So at about 11.30 am we set off from our school towards the first house which was only about 4 minutes away. Not long at all, right? But the moment we left the school (which is shaded and full of fans blowing every which way) we started melting like the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz. It was so hot. We were all so incredulously sweaty, and yet, we stuck together, our first host didn’t abandon us for shade and fans… we continued on, a team on a mission. After the first house, we walked another 4 minutes to my place, dripping a Hansel & Gretel-esque trail of sweat in our wake. But this did not stop us. We continued on another 4 minutes to the last 3 houses, that were, thankfully, all neighbors. At this point, we’d clearly lost a collective 20lbs in 30 minutes. We sweated like sweating was going out of style. We sweated like it had monetary value. We sweated like a boxer trying to drop pounds to fit in a weight class. We sweated everywhere. We had back sweat, behind-the-knee sweat, sweat pooling in our collarbones, dripping off the hairs of our eyebrows. We sweated so much our eyes started sweating, at which point we realized we were crying of laughter from the hilarity and ridiculousness of the situation.
We have just moved to the tropics, of course we are going to sweat! It’s going to take weeks, months for our bodies to acclimatize and hopefully the sweating will subside. But, my, how under-prepared we were! Sure, we have some quick-dry clothes and some of us have lived in the “tropics” before… but the locals know how to really handle the heat. They avoid the sun anytime possible, they don’t walk fast in the heat, they have umbrellas, face towels, and fans for de-sweating and making themselves look clean and dry and, oh, NOT sweaty. And there’s the baby powder trick! You can put it everywhere, EVERYWHERE, that sweats. Makes your skin look soft and dry and baby’s bottom touchable. I haven’t become that committed yet, but some of my colleagues are already huge fans. Perhaps, one day I will get there… perhaps, I will adjust first. In the meantime, if you count the blood tests that we needed to get into the Peace Corps, you can say that we’ve already put blood, sweat, and tears into this adventure. Five 20-somethings that have lived across the USA and around the globe, find themselves sweating and crying together in the Philippines. Pretty remarkable.
Anyway, that’s it for now, I am might exhausted. Going to go hydrate and tuck myself into my mosquito net. Soon an update on host-family living and training life. Thanks for reading. Enjoy,
Oh, and just so you know. We did go for a swim later in the afternoon and relish in our beautiful surroundings: