It’s been a whirlwind past few days traveling and finally arriving in Tacloban City, but it is slowly becoming more and more normal. I am living in what other volunteers have described it as the “Ritz Carlton” of home-stays, because is has a television, a working shower and toilet, and wifi on occasion. Definitely a lot nicer than what I was expecting, which was a pleasant surprise. The family that I am living with is extremely friendly, nanay (mom in waray) cooks the other volunteer and my breakfast and dinner. So far it has been delicious, and I even tried some fish…and get this, I actually liked it! She also home makes her peanut butter, which is by far the best tasting PB I’ve ever had, and I usually eat it for breakfast. I’m definitely enjoying making friends with all the other volunteers here, and they are mainly in their early twenties, so we’re all very close in age.
During my orientation on Sunday, I was able to learn more about VFV and one of the coordinators showed me around town. We travel by way of jeepney, which is the public transportation of the area, and are just really awesome looking buses. Downtown Tacloban has a lot of stores and restaurants in it, even a Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonalds.
Today was the first day of my placement, and I was working with two other volunteers. We bought food for the feeding program at a local market and then brought it to the makeshift kitchen to cook and serve to the kids. After the long journey back home, we went back to the office to relax and meet up with the rest of the volunteers.
The food here is generally pretty good, but they fry almost all of it, and what they don’t fry, they garnish with salt and sugar. I rarely get fresh fruit and vegetables unfortunately, but I’m trying to adjust while still being courteous to my nanay. The obesity epidemic definitely makes sense now that I’ve been here, and it’s only been a few days.
Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers, I’m looking forward to exploring so much more of Tacloban!