Joining the Peace Corps meant committing 2+ years of my life to live and serve in whatever country the Peace Corps decided to send me to. My assignment to the Philippines came after seven months of applications, interviews, and pre-medical screening. Flying across the world was a 3-day travel process involving 4 different planes and landing me in the world’s most densely populated city, Manila. Luckily, it was a short stay as I was quickly transported to our training site.
For my first 3 months here, I studied Tagalog language every morning and reviewed technical skills like community mapping and reef assessments every afternoon. Finally, on September 18th I arrived at my permanent site in Odiongan, Romblon.
Here in Odiongan, I live with a host family (at least initially, although I am so fond of the Famero family, that I may stay with them for my entire 2 years!) Each day is a new adventure: I have learned to harvest rice, sing karaoke in Tagalog, kill and cook a chicken, gut fish, rescue a stranded dolphin, and eat balut. While poverty is a daily encounter in my life here, the Philippines is also rich: rich in culture, in community, in marine biodiversity, and I am so happy to call this place home.