Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sometimes I just want to stare at the sky, sit in a beautiful space, watch the blue waters as the waves dash against the shore and the warm ocean breezes. This is how I describe Cook Island, the Paradise and the Shangri-la of the South Pacific.
The day started with strong winds and torrential rain blowing the electric wiring of two Americans, George and Ron, who just arrived from Florida. The balcony in front of our room was a mess.
After breakfast Denise and I reported to St. Joseph for our assignment, with Tai bringing us to school every day. There were lots of students out of school due to the rain. We didn’t even rehearse the Christmas pageant.
Regular classes started on the dot. Delia, the local teacher, motivated the pre-school students who were 15 in number by singing action songs. I joined the class and the kids were very enthusiastic and responsive. The kids love it.
Then we taught them how to write the big letter “E” and the small letter “e”. They had to write the letters repetitiously in their notebook. There were some smart students and a few could hardly write the letters. After writing the alphabet we watched a musical movie, Wiggle. They’re enjoying the whole show. While we were watching the movie I was busy working on the wings of the angels who’ll be in the Christmas play. This was my morning schedule. After working with the kids, I had to practice with 20 students for my Filipino dance – “PANDANGOSA ILAW” meaning “Dance of the Light”. I have 2 more rehearsals with them and I leave it up to Dick, their teacher to brush up the balancing of the glasses on the heads of the girls. Hopefully they’ll be able to dance without dropping their glasses. This dance will be performed during their Christmas celebration on December 11.
Coming home from work, I met Sarah in the bus. I’m lucky to meet people I know. Sarah is a volunteer from another organization and she was gracious enough to introduce me to another volunteer.
At 5:00 we’re ready to practice our Polynesian Dance. We weren’t lucky this time. The gym was not available because they’re practicing a fashion show. So the 3 dance aficionados, Judy, Connie and myself weren’t able to do our wiggle.
Returned to KiiKii Motel and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner prepared by Rosie. Her cooking reminds me of our Filipino cuisine.
Mrs. Here, Tai’s Mom showed us how to make ei katu (flowers for the head). Unfortunately I’m not gifted when it comes to making intricate things. Elaine finished first and everybody passed the test but me. Teresa made 2. I barely finished my ei katu, but with the help of Mrs. Here, Tai and Tai’s niece Crystal. They made my night. I’m grateful for the lovely ei katu that Tai’s Mom gave me. That was the best thing that happened.
These last few days are almost like a dream and I shall remember them always and leaving memories behind; meeting all of you, your patience, your kindness made my short stay in The Cook Islands unforgettable. It breaks my heart to think that I’ll be leaving soon.
A summation of the important events that climaxed my Global Volunteer work. The first country I visited was Istanbul, Turkey. One of the most beautiful cities in the world. In Istanbul you find a market they call the Bazaar. Here you find anything you want. You can haggle with the sales person. In Ephesus, an island in Turkey which is 2 hours flight, you’ll find a chapel of the Blessed Virgin during the last days of her life.
Xi-an, China. The museum, Terra cotta, in Xi-an where thousands of soldiers fought during the war and they are all in the military garb preserved and in the catacomb. This museum is considered the Ninth Wonder of the World. Also as my side trip, I traveled to Shanghai and spent a week to relax after my mission. Visited their stock market and the shopping centre. Shanghai is considered the Paris of China. The women are fashionable and modern as compared to the other cities in China.
Quito, Ecuador. This city is near the equator. I would not have known that the earth isn’t round. The earth bulges because of the heat. This is what I’ve learned during my travel in Ecuador. I really wanted to visit such places as the Galapagos Island and Machu Pichu but you need reservations ahead of time.
Siealce, Warsaw, Poland. In my side trip I visited Auschwitz, which is now a museum. This is where millions of people were slaughtered, burned in the crematorium. These are reminders of what can happen when human beings lose touch with individuals. Basic human being is the inability to bear the sight of another suffering. I for one, couldn’t bear the sight. I also visited St. Mary Church in Krakow where Pope Paul II first officiated his mass as a bishop. Pope Paul II was born in Krakow but we weren’t able to visit his birthplace because it was several hundred miles from the city.
Rarotonga, Cook Islands. I consider this place the Paradise of the South Pacific not only for its beauty but also for its people.

Thought for the Day:
Live in the moment!!