|Bernard, Jovvy and Me|
One exciting thing about working at the VIDES office is that I tend to find out what I’ll be doing for the day usually at the last minute. On Wednesday morning at 8:30 I was at the office. At 8:45am Riza said she was leaving to go for a Radio Veritas (the catholic radio channel in the Philippines) interview about education and at risk youth with Sr. Jojo and Amy. 10 minutes after she left the phone rings, Sr. Jojo says to come down by 9am- they are taking me for the interview! I had 5 minutes to run back to my room at Don Bosco School drop of my laptop and grab my bag. On the way to the radio station Sr. Jojo explained to us the statues of the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and how the Philippines is doing in this regard. Though children don’t have to pay fees to attend a public school here, on a regular basis they are expected to bring money for projects, outings etc. An average public school classroom size is 80-100 students, and many have to bring their own chairs since there is not enough for all of them. There are three shifts (you can either attend school in the morning, afternoon or night) since there is not enough room to house all the children at the same time. You can imagine how tired a teacher is after teaching 3 shifts a day. To make matters worse they are often not paid on a regular basis- sometimes they have to wait a month or two to get paid. To get more income they bring food to the class room to sell to the students. Apparently you can get paid more working as a domestic help outside the Philippines than working as a teacher at a public school. There have even been reports of physical and humiliating punishments that students have to endure. It’s a pretty bad situation- with such a low quality education it’s no wonder generations are stuck in poverty here.
At the radio station we met Bernard and Jovvy the hosts of the show Pamiliya Mo, Pamiliya Ko. (My family is your family). I was a bit nervous- I’ve never been interviewed on a radio show before. The interview was mainly in Tagalog, except when they spoke to me. It was pretty funny- the first thing they asked me was about my relationship status. Everyone listening in the Philippines now knows that Megan Freitas from Canada is single and would stay here if she met the right guy. I also did a shout out to my friends back in Canada and Helen back at VIDES. On a more serious note they also asked me about VIDES Canada and I told them about how we focus on the formation of volunteers and fund raising for the different mission sites. They also started asking me questions about children in conflict with the law in Canada, and I wasn’t too sure what to say! I havnt worked with at risk youth in Canada, so I quickly covered with a few generic comments. Overall it was an exciting experience! On the way back to DBS on hearing that I am single, Sr. Jojo encouraged me to put myself in more situations where I can meet boys and said Amy would organize a volunteer social to event to introduce Helen and me to someone called Crazy Paolo (she wouldn’t tell me why they call him crazy). Who is Crazy Paolo and will there be cute boys at this social? Stay tuned to the blog to find out more….