A very busy couple of weeks at the center. The last 2 weeks or so I have basically been trying to keep the kids engaged and learning at the same time. It still baffles me how difficult that can be! It has made me learn so much about teaching...hard stuff. I've realized that the best part about it is just having the kids around. They have so much energy and are so much fun to hang out with, even when we are not doing technical lessons, there is always a form of teaching involved. I've really fallen in love with these kids, I feel like they are a mix of my children and my best friends...it's been really hard telling them that I'm leaving. I'm going to miss them so much! But most of all I just worry about what they will do all day without a volunteer around to keep them entertained. In the last couple of weeks they have brought in a music teacher which is great. Nelbert, Renalto and Raniel have been learning to play and it's really fun to see them progress and work hard at it.
Yesterday (Friday) was technically my last day at the center, even though I am going to stop by and hang out for a couple of hours today. I took 11 of the boys to the movie theater in town to see XMen Wolverine. They had never been to a theater before so it was a very exciting experience! Not only that, but I think most of the boys that came haven't even stepped out of the center for a couple of weeks, so any time they can go out to do an activity is always fun and new. In the theatre they blast the air conditioning, which I love and could live in, but it was hilarious how cold the boys were! As soon as we were in the theatre it was like a different world, freezing cold and pitch black...we walked in all loud and stumbling over each other laughing...way too much fun.
It was too bad that all the boys couldn't come, but 5 of the older ones who I've grown close to got in trouble last weekend for sniffing rugby out back. It's basically like sniffing glue and getting a pretty good high off it...but so bad for you, and It's exactly what we are working to stop. It's also sad because someone from outside the center supplied it for the boys. It puts me in a hard position because they all tell me about it and laugh about how fun it was...and I feel like I'm in the position that we are friends; that's why they confide in me, but I also can't condone them sniffing rugby. So I play a little middle-man and tell them about how it's killing their brain and all that stuff, in all seriousness...I really don't know how much that gets through to them though. I am just SO concerned about them when there is no one there for them to hang out with, there is little to zero adult interaction and no parental example so these kids are literally raising themselves. It makes me feel a little better that they are starting school on Monday, so about half of them will be there during the day to keep them out of the center and distracted doing something else. Hopefully learning...but the public education system here is still questionable to me.
Last weekend I went over to Cebu and took a bus to Moalboal which is pretty nice, not as great as I thought, the one beach there was beautiful...but way crowded with locals, which I wouldn't mind if every single one of them wasn't staring at me every time I stood up and sat down, asking to take my picture or pose in a picture with them, and wanted to know about my family and religious background. When there are literally hundreds of eyes on you it will make you a little insecure. I almost feel like I might know how it feels to be a celebrity...and I am no Paris Hilton.
After that I headed back to Cebu city and went to Ayala Center, which is a HUGE shopping mall where I had...hold your breath...Starbucks. Walking through the mall and drinking real coffee felt a lot like home, not sure if it was a good thing or not. Got to do a little shopping and met a nice guy from Kuwait who joined me for dinner. We had a nice time talking and laughing, did the "good to meet you thing" and I went home early for the night before heading back to Ormoc and the center Monday morning. I can't get over the deals you can get here...for a whole weekend of tourist-ing, traveling, shopping and eating with almost no regard to prices, I spent about 70 USD.
So now I am about to spend my last weekend here in Ormoc before heading back to Cebu City to tour around and then up to Malapascua Island for a few days. I hear its really wonderful there, and there are some great dives to see. Yes, I am 90% sure I am going to get dive certified. The Philippines is suppose to have the best diving in the world, I don't think I can miss out! I excited to see more of the Visayas for the next couple of weeks. Wish me luck!