It was a busy week for us Coastal Resource Management Trainees, conducting interviews, making courtesy calls, and preparing for the Participatory Coastal Resource Assessment workshop that we held yesterday. I feel that we are in the crux of our training now: we have been in country for over a month, have just a month left of training and a mere two weeks until our language proficiency exam and site placement announcements! Every day we come across new work to do, new things to study, new tasks to complete… it’s exciting, invigorating, and sometimes, downright exhausting!
A few days ago we visited the Mount Samat National Shrine for fallen Filipino and American soldiers during World War II. It is the end location of the Bataan Death March in which nearly 80,000 prisoners of war were forced to walk 60 miles as a ‘camp transfer’; only about 54,000 survived the walk. It was a sobering day that also made me proud to be a part of a program that promotes international peace and friendship. Does the world not need more of that?
On a more positive note, we ended the week with a PCRA workshop, our first organized community event! The PCRA includes inviting local fisherfolk, council members, people’s organizations, teachers, and government workers to take part in a workshop about the local environment and any potential issues that need to be addressed. This is a really important part of our training as it is something that many of us will help in organizing or facilitating at our permanent site. Throughout the workshop there are many activities, such as creating a map of the community or a graph of fishing trends over the years, followed by a discussion on community needs (inspiration for a mini-project we will complete during training)! Despite a telephone pole crashing down and knocking out our power for the first hour-and-a-half of the workshop and knowing very basic Tagalog, we ran a successful PCRA with 19 community members attending… a small accomplishment perhaps, but a step in the right direction. PCRA’s can take weeks and months of planning, but for our training we just had a few days to put a mini-event together!
Coming up this week: we are writing a Coastal Environmental Program based on our findings in the PCRA. We are also planning an educational program for a Youth Camp this weekend in collaboration with the other training sectors (Education and Community, Youth, & Families). Throw in some language lessons, training sessions, interviews with our sector manager, and we’ve got quite an exciting, busy week of work ahead of us… will update again soon, with better pictures next time. Right now, my bed is calling me. Peace & love,