Thankful Thursday# 15

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14. February 2013 by swissfitchick

Good morning! Happy Valentines Day! What a great day to show some love with Thankful Thursday.

Let’s be thankful today and join in the campaign hosted by beautiful Jessie!

25ecf49000a1739b_111.xxxlarge_1Today I want to talk about something which is totally off subject. About a time in my life I am very thankful for and where I experienced endless thankfulness.

Back in 2007 I decided to do a volunteership in the Philippines. It was my dream since I was a little girl to go to a country and help people and children who are not as privileged as I am. I was planning to start my studies in Social Work in September 2007 which for I had to quit my job. So I decided to quit a few months earlier and make my dream come true.

After some research I registered with this organization and a few months later I sat on the plane all on my own on my way to an unknown country without a clue what was expecting me.

DSC00245 Since the Philippines are my absolute dream destination I wanted to explore some of the islands before I started working and travelled around for 1 month on my own. DSC00263 DSC00427 DSC00336 DSC00430After this month full of colorful, beautiful and exciting impressions I headed on to Long Beach, a little village on Romblon Islands, where my guest family lives.

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DSC00678Together with me was Jen – a girl from Vancouver who participated in the same program as me. I was so happy to get to know her, because it does feel a little strange when you are in the middle of all these lovely Filippinos as a white blonde girl. Jen and me had very intense 2 months on the island and a very deep and still lasting friendship developed between us.

DSC00577 DSC00566Jen was teaching English for 1st and 2nd grad classes (am I right Jen? Not sure anymore) while I was outside painting the roofs 🙂 and teaching kindergarden kiddies in the afternoon. Both jobs were not easy. Painting the roof was fun, but you can not imagine how HOT it was up there. Well. Today the roof is still green and clean and I am proud of it. I was there last November and checked! 🙂

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Teaching the kids was sweet, but it took a while until they opened up to me which is totally understandable. I was like an alien for them 🙂 But they were so excited about the things I did with them, like playing soccer, singing, painting, painting shirts etc.

DSC00509 DSC00512 DSC00531 DSC00541My family was absolutely wonderful. They treated me like their own daughter and showed me so much love it was incredible. I was so happy when I saw them again last November, since I really miss them a lot. Especially the daughter. I never lost my heart to a child like this. Genevieve was 5 years old when I was there and we spent all my freetime together. I never had that with a child before. I had the hardest time to leave her.

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The house was very simple. Access to water and electricity was very limited, like a few hours a day, so we really had to save it. We went to bed very early because we had no light anymore but then got up with the sun. The house was placed right at the beach which was absolutely beautiful. There was no fridge or a ‘normal’ shower like the one we are used to. But I was absolutely fine with everything – it took me a few days until I was adapted to this new life. The only thing I could not get used to were the cockroaches in the bathroom at night!! Gross!!!

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Water Pump

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SHOWER!!

The garden

The garden

DSC00838In the last few weeks of our volunteership, Jen and I were creating a new project. We realized that the teachers and students did not have enough schoolbooks. About 30% of the students did not have a book. So we offered the teachers to handcopy important stuff from the books, so they could use it as posters and Pin Cards in their classrooms. It was a nice job. I got to spend a lot of time with Jen, the teachers were very pleased and in the breaks all the students came to the library, watching us work.

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The library – and the dogs! Always with us!

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Teacher Crew

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I never experienced more thankfulness than in this time and place. I was touched and so impressed by the attitude of the people there. Most of them had nothing. NOTHING. We went to visit the slums of Manila and you can believe me that this makes you just so so sad. But you know what? The people there were smiling!

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My family in Long Beach live so simple. They work so hard and still – they are the happiest people I’ve ever seen. And so supportive to each other. We can really learn a lot from them!

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One could think that my ED shut up when I was there. But it did not. As you can see, I was quite some kilos heavier than today. That came from binging without purging or other compensating. I was very very unhappy about my body then. But I can say that I took the most advantage out of this time and I did really well despite the loud ED voice in my head. Isn’t it unbelivable that it does not go away even though you see people living in poverty and forced to starve??

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Now what my message of this post is: Live your dream. No matter what. THIS was one of my dreams and I am SO thankful to myself that I went for it. This is an experience that taught me for life and no one can ever take it from me.

If you are interested in more detailed stories from my time on the Philippines, please check my Island Blog! All the posts from 2007 are related to this journey.

Did you ever travel to a poor country? 

What is your dream? 

xxx

Lucie

20 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday# 15

  1. Greta says:

    I simply adored this post!
    You are a wonderful person, Lucie! And your post’s message speaks right to my heart.
    I’ve never been to a poor country. But I know that dreams matter so much in ones life. Without them we are just empty and purposeless. I do have some. And they are not about concurring or saving the world. Just making my own little one a better place to be. 😉

  2. cleanfoodcreativefitness says:

    Wow this must have been such an amazing life experience! I love learning more about you through your blog! I already knew you were fabulous but I know I just think you are even more amazing! Lots of love!

  3. this experience seems so amazing, I have always wanted to do something like this. I am so glad you were able to do this

  4. kepotts says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing such a positive time in your life! Living abroad in another culture puts so much into perspective. You looked beautiful while you were there & like you really enjoyed yourself! I lived in China for a year teaching English & struggled with weight demons while I was there as well. It taught me so many things about how strong I am as a person to live away from home for so long. Experiences truly shape who we are!

  5. Oh my goodness, Lucie, what an absolutely amazing experience! I’m honestly touched by this post… The way you plunged into an unknown situation is extremely inspirational, and the way you describe how much of an impact this experience had on you is beautiful. Doing something like this, and seeing people who are happy even though they have nothing really does put things into perspective. I’ve never travelled to a poor country, but I’ve done a lot of volunteer work with less fortunate and sick individuals, and their ability to find joy in every day life really makes you (not you you, but generally) stop and consider how you can be so worried about how your jeans fit or how your hair looks. Thanks for sharing, girlie 🙂

    • Thank you Amanda!!!! You totally point it out – it puts things intp perspective. That’s exactly how it was, I was wondering what we are actually worrying about, when these people can be happy about 2 hours of electric light. It’s healing to experience things like this!

  6. I absolutely LOVED reading this, Lucie! Thank you so much for sharing your experience in the Philippines with us; this post touched my heart, and your words express the deep-felt admiration and love you have for the people you encountered and befriended while you were there. What’s so amazing is that you made a REAL impact because you were THERE. It’s so easy to donate money to charities from afar, but it requires courage, faith and a huge heart to actually go and immerse yourself in a third world culture. ❤

    Your experience reminds me of the summer I spent in Costa Rica working for Habitat for Humanity. I lived with a host family in a home that had no electricity and no warm water. It was a humbling experience, but I came to understand that it's not *things* that make us happy. Like the Filipinos you lived with, my Costa Rican family was always smiling–always grateful for what they *did* have, rather than what they didn't. ❤ xoxo

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful comment Sara! And wow, I am SO impressed that you spent a summer in Costa Rica!! Would love to hear more about it! And yes, I admire the ability of those people to be happy about just the daylight and health. AMazing.

  7. nadja says:

    I LOVED reading that post! Thanks a lot for sharing! When i travel, i always like to see the “real world” and not only stay in a hotel all day long (even if sometimes it’s great to do this ;)) and i had the opportunity to meet local people in Syria, Greece and Romania, and (i think you already know that regarding that travel in the Philipines) this is one of the best things that can happen to you in the world!!

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