I have been working abroad for a year, and this is my first time to have been doing a volunteer work for a long period of time without going back home. This is very interesting for me though, because it actually makes me feel like a better person for helping someone in the community. It was only during our required NSTP classes in my sophomore year that I had to involve myself in volunteering. I had never really volunteered on my own before, so I knew that this is my opportunity to do some community service to help others rather than doing it for a class. I have found through experience that I really like to volunteer.
The month of July had been good to me just like any other months. But still, I am relishing my moment of my stay here in Myanmar and to what I have been working these days. The weather was still the same. This rainy season would start with a drizzle and then to a harsh sound of heavy rain all day. Rain or shine, people often wore their coat because of this weather.
Every foreign guests I met here in St. Aloysius Gonzaga Institute is a family and I’m glad to have met them with closeness and friendship. I have been acting like an entertainer for the guests visiting the institute each time I have dinner with them at night. Those lovely nights of sharing thoughts and cultures with them were truly wonderful. Guess what? Uncle Quentin was back in the middle of the month. He spent three weeks of stay here doing some financial works for the institute. His stay was shorter this month unlike last year. I was so glad to meet him for the second time with his jolly and friendly face. I was happy to be with him whenever we went with the students somewhere around Taunggyi. Oh yeah, I went out with the students and some teachers here on my free times.
Going to karaoke:
Heading to cinemas and malls:
Attending birthday celebrations:
As well as venturing towards pagodas and mountains were all the times I had spent with them all:
I had also been given a new position as an Outreach Site Coordinator in this institute helping our juniors and seniors on their English Language teaching towards two outreach sites on weekends. I’m responsible in giving them feedback on their lesson plans and teaching performances. How is the experience? It might be a new experience for me, but this outreach work really makes my weekends more productive rather than staying in my room after teaching two classes of young learners. There were at times that I talked with some students there regarding their teaching experiences particularly the challenges that they were facing with the children. Even they themselves were struggling on teaching the youngsters correct pronunciation of words, as well as grammar. Burmese language is still the medium of instruction used in each class since the students are too beginners to learn English. Because of that, I still have to adjust myself with this language barrier around the schools. I have been able to check how they interact with the children very well and their teaching strategies and styles they’re using in class however.
Part of this month was the celebration of St. Ignatius Week on its last week. I was so amazed with the various activities (essay-writing, debate, quiz, skit, dance, poster making, Facebook photo sharing, football (for men) and thositho (a traditional childhood game for women)) prepared by the students committee. I was even asked to judge essay works and two rounds of scholarly debate. I could see from the students’ faces how excited and active they were in participating these events. Indeed, there were several students performing their dances and skits in groups representing the theme of the said event.
Often I would ponder to myself regarding my unpredictable and fluctuating decisions on staying for another semester or maybe a year in this institute. I’ve always thought that my job as a volunteer will be finished soon and that I have to go back no matter what. Still, there’s this something that tells me to stay until my mission is fully finished. What is this task that I really have to end? Is this workplace really calls me because I still have more unfinished business to accomplish? Or is it because I just feel the need of continuity and better tracking of the school’s growth and development may it be infrastructure, students, faculty and staff? Who knows? Everyone seems good to me and I’m still not yet ready to leave them all. Sigh. Now, I understand what it means to decide something but whatever my decision will be, I’m just doing it for the best of my family and institute.