My Favorite Memory: Every morning when you arrive at the center all the boys are smiling at you and say good morning ate Sabina.
One of the boys asked me the following: ate, why are you coming from so far away to stay with us and tell us that you love us and nobody from my own country has ever said that to me.
I was surprised that…. Even if the people are very poor they still smile a lot and are very, very gorgeous with everything they have.
The most difficult thing I experienced was….Seeing how they treat disabled children. at the boy center they treat them as good as they can but in another center it was horrible to see that they keep them like animals. They have no clue (and of course also no money) how to deal with these kids.To see how they beat the kids at the center.
My best received lesson…I had to accept that I can’t make the world to be a better place and I cannot change habits of a country.
Tip for future volunteers… (Clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc)
Just go there with an open mind. Do not expect anything. So you will enjoy your stay for sure. The people are very friendly and you will love the kids at the first sight. Teaching is not as easy as the boys in the center are not used of anything like. Do not forget to take a lot of mosquito spray with you There is not a lot to see at Ormoc, that’s also the reason why hardly no tourists are there. So you can be sure that you are not going to see a lot of white people (specially women) during your time there. Travelling around Ormoc is not very easy, if you only have time for the weekend. You need at least 4-5 hours to get to a nice beach. And only the ship to Cebu is a comfortable trip. Otherwise you have to share the boat also with a lot of coats, roosters etc. If you have more time take the boat to Cebu-Bohol and enjoy the nice beach in Panglao Island.
Personal Paragraph (Testimonial):
I enjoyed every day at Ormoc even if the circumstances are not always easy. My host family was so lovely and they did everything to make me feel welcome. The thankfulness they all gave me was overwhelming.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA, and in-country
ABV did organize everything very well. I got the information about my project and my host family in advance and they organized to pick me up from the airport. The local organization in Tacloban was okay but they are not talking with you enough at the beginning. They just show you the project you work and then they leave you alone. As I’m used of travelling around (alone) it was not a big problem for me. But I can’t imagine to be 16 years old and the first time abroad and nobody is taking care of you.
How would you describe your accommodation ( ie: host family, on-site, shared housing etc)
It was not really luxury. I had to share the bathroom with seven family members… and it was actually not really a bathroom. The house had no walls at the beginning and my rooms was very small and furnished very limited. But my family was so lovely and the treat me like a family member. And it is very good to see that you can also handle less luxury.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Yes, I am.
Sabina Volunteer in Tacloban, Philippines