Wednesday, August 31, 2011

30th August 2011 - Week 3 Tuesday

Rise and shine!!

Woke up at eight in the morning for breakfast with my (Jan) leadership team [sorry guys I was late…>_<]. We all met at the lobby at 10am for a debrief from the children team before heading out to Budlaan for the Health Education Children’s Fiesta on Jeepneys [we had to change one at Ayala mall]. Jeepney riding is just a great way for bonding and saves plenty of $$$! I just love riding the jeepney with my entire team. =) The jeepney drops us off at Sunny Hills, and then to get to Budlaan we had to ride a motorbike. 3 people on 1 bike! I rode up with Michael, he burned a lil of his leg on the muffler, whereas Amy burned more than just a lil.

The moment we arrived, the kids just rushed out of the communal hall to greet us. We were actually really early, as the event was supposed to begin at 1pm, whence we arrived at 11am. We had plenty of time to play with the kids, as well as some time preparing the skit and other materials. I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to keep the children’s attention without actually doing activities, but I guess they just really enjoy playing with us, even with the language barrier. I had loads of fun playing with the kids and at times it just frustrates me that I don’t understand what they’re trying to tell me. Luckily there were other GK volunteers around who I could call upon to translate. I gained a new perspective on how I am with kids [age range was about from 4 to 16? I just stopped asking for their ages at one point; I had a hard time itself remembering their names]. At first I ruled out dealing with kids for my future cause I kind of found it difficult handling them, now I guess I’ll open this door and leave it open and see.

Sorry for the digression... Before the event started we had PB&J (and their expansions) sandwiches for lunch, not forgetting our fruits, we had bananas and apples going around too. It was my first time eating PB&J and it was good! =D

At 1pm we had the kids sit in front of the mini stage then we started with the skit, which was essentially the entire event, Included in the skits were games and lessons, the children’s team (Jenssy, Ross, Natasha and Amy!!) just put a storyline behind everything for a better understanding from the children at Budlaan. Cheers to them for awesome planning!! And their lil elf helpers Anton, Livvie and Jessie!! The skit generally told the kids bout a girl who loves eating unhealthy food and whose kuya (aka brother) drinks and smokes. In addition there were fruits, vege and exercise trying to convince her to make healthy choices when she’s young, for a lesser chance of getting hypertension. Included in the skit were games such as Simon Says, Orange Toss, Comparison Game and Bomb Game, besides that there were the Watermelon Song and the Happy Hearts Dance (to the tune of Macarena).

Watermelon Song(to the tune of “are you sleeping?”)

Watermelon, watermelon

Papaya, papaya

Pineapple banana, pineapple banana

Fruit salad, fruit salad

I think the children at Budlaan really enjoyed the fiesta we had for them, and hopefully they really did take away the messages we were trying to convey about healthy lifestyles. I’ll miss the kids, truly, am saying this for the entire team too. Although we all had sunburnt skin and sometimes it would hurt while playing with the kids, but it was entirely worth it, just seeing how happy, cute and loveable they were.

After the tiring day we had an early dinner at Ayala. Livvie, Jessie and I went to the food court area to eat whereas the others had McD’s for dinner. They both had kebabs (I think) while I had a tiny tuna wrap (I wasn’t feeling too hungry then actually, just extremely dehydrated). And we had money in our budget for frozen yoghurt after, which was an excellent finish (and healthier too =P) Consequently after dinner some of them stayed to shop in the mall, while me and 5 others (Amy, Mutahir, Livvie, Jenssy and Andrew) went back to the hotel jeepney-style for a nice shower and some movie downtime. We watched The King’s Speech, chatted a lil then joined the others for some bonding over games. We pushed work til tomorrow cause it turned out to be a free day for us.

I really like this project and am immensely grateful that I managed to be a part of it. I was really lucky cause I was at first rejected then only accepted after other people pulled out. Thank God for that. =) I’ve learned oh so much, not only of concepts but also of myself personally.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Running on Pure Adrenaline: Aug. 25, 2011

As the clock struck midnight, all members of our PP11 team were still busily working in each of their subcommittees. The desire for sleep was overwhelming, but the necessity to finish planning the morning's activities drove them to power through. This night proved especially difficult for the leadership team because activities addressing time management and budgeting were hard to find. Also, the leadership workshops began at 8 am instead of in the afternoon, so any morning preparation was eliminated. However, they embraced this challenge and finalized the agenda by 3 am.

The Leadership Team hard at work at 1 am

A short four hours later, the entire PP11 team met in the lobby for a quick breakfast before a timely departure to Cebu City National Science High School. Natasha energized the groggy group with a variation of head, shoulders, knees, and toes called "alive, awake, alert, enthusiastic!" This energizer gave us all the extra boost we needed to jump start the day!

We had a rough start once we arrived at CCNSHS. The library, the room where we usually have our activities, was locked and there were no teachers or staff to be found. Luckily, some of the students found us and brought us to an empty dance room. A lot of the mentees (including mine) were not present even after waiting for over half an hour, so we started our workshop without them. The Children's Team started off with the media development. Ross and Natasha worked together on the development of the informational pamphlet. Ross had one group that designed the nutritional information page, while Natasha's group made the exercise activity page. Amy and Jenssy guided the remaining students in developing a skit to present in the elementary schools. After an hour of tirelessly working, the entire group reconvened in the library to share the media that their specific groups had developed.

Once in the library, the group transitioned from media development to our leadership workshop. Today, we covered the topics of the different types of leaders, goal setting, time management, budgeting, and fundraising. To begin these activities, four posters were placed around the room. Each of these posters were titled with one of the cardinal directions which was representative of one of the four main types of leaders. The North was The "Get It Done Person," the South was The Nurturer, the East was The Visionary, and the West was The Analyst. Along with these titles were listed traits and characteristics describing each of these types of leaders. The students were then given the task of determining which leader described themselves the best.

EAST: The Visionary

After determining which leader they were, the students had to work with the other students that identified in the same manner and plan a trip to Mars. The students were then challenged to determined what strengths they possessed while planning the trip and also identify what weaknesses hindered their plans. This activity illustrated the distinct qualities of each type of leader and highlighted the fact that other leaders can help compensate for other's weaknesses in order to achieve ultimate success.

"The North Face" shares their strengths and weaknesses

Once the mentees recognized the types of leaders they were, we moved onto the goal setting and time management portion of the workshop. With goal setting, the SMART method was introduced. This acronym, standing for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reachable, and Time Bound, gave students the guidance tools to remember when establishing goals. Next, the students were challenged to plan a cultural show on Filipino dance and music as a means of testing their time management skills. This activity proved the most difficult for the students because they repeatedly ran out of time in both the preparation and presentation portions of this activity. However, this allowed for extremely beneficial and constructive mentor/mentee bonding time. The mentees were able to identify what went wrong during the activity and pose their own solutions and advice. To finish off the mentor/mentee time, the "Dream Tree" was presented. The roots of the tree represented personal values, the trunk was personal abilities, and the leaves on top corresponded to dreams and aspirations. Mentees drew their own dream trees and identified specific aspects for the roots, trunk, and leaves.

Amanda proudly presents the "Dream Tree"

To finish off the leadership workshop, budgeting and fundraising were emphasized. Similar to the time management exercise, the mentees had to create a budget for a Filipino cultural event. They had to identify all of the expenses and determine exactly the magnitude of their event. After creating a budget, the mentees had to pitch to potential company sponsors represented by pairs of mentors. Each of the companies specialized in something specific, from food to sports to health to swag, and the students had to cater each pitch to their business interests. The students that took initiative and presented a pitch were quite eloquent and persuasive. However, not every student presented a pitch, so we will return to this activity again next Friday to ensure that everyone gains from this important leadership lesson.

Happy Hearts Co. & Volcano Foods Enterprises

M&M Ltd : Ignite Your Passion For Sport

MMM.. Lechon! The BEST in Cebu!

Providing every party with the proper SWAG!

The pitches concluded the leadership workshops for the day. After saying our goodbyes and watching an impressive performance of the dougie by the Cobarde twins, the mentors feasted on some Malaysian dishes for lunch at Ayala shopping center. At the end of this delicious meal, the mentors participated in light-hearted games of thumb wars and arm wrestling before heading back to Fuente Oro for a much needed and deserved afternoon of resting and naps.

Do it for China (and England too)!

Jessie sweeps team Korea and Malaysia in one sitting

After resting for a few hours, the group reconvened for a Persian dinner. The rest and meal revitalized the team and fostered a lively and engaged debrief of the day's activities. The team then quickly finished our SIO by establishing concrete objectives. From there, the group split into their subcommittees to finalize plans for the UP High students and finish preparations for the upcoming health fair and children's fiesta day!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Meeting Our Mentees, Impromptu Speeches, and Unlocking the "Key to Success" - UP Cebu High School Leadership Workshop #1

Today (August 24) we PP11 mentors had our very first leadership workshop with the students of UP Cebu High School - it was a VERY exciting day :)

We spent the whole morning preparing for our day with our new mentees, and it was well worth it, as our day with the students went by very smoothly. After playing a short icebreaker game, the Leadership Team (Janet, Alyx, Xun, and Jan) matched each mentor up with his or her mentee, and each mentor-mentee group got to spend some time talking amongst themselves about what each person wants to take away from their SEALNet experience, along with other "deep conversation" topics. Mentor-mentee bonds were definitely formed:

Our professional mentor Andrew Plan and his mentee, Kier

Amy and her two lovely mentees

Natasha and her mentee, Brian

We then transitioned into the public speaking portion of our day with a skit put on by the mentors, in which the mentees saw both good and bad examples of public speakers and learned that when it comes to public speaking, L.E.S.S. is more! The acronym L.E.S.S. stands for Loudly, Eye Contact, Slowly, and Smoothly (without the use of "um" or "uh" words) - all mannerisms that one should remember when giving a speech.

Mentors then shared with their mentees about their public speaking experiences, fears, and strengths, and the mentees shared the same. We then split up into two groups and did the same "impromptu speech activity" as we did with the CCNSHS students the day before. Each mentee was given a prompt, such as "If you were an animal, what would you choose to be and why?" Everyone was given one minute to plan his or her speech then one minute to present the speech. After one round, mentors met with their mentees to share points of strength and points that could be improved upon, and we repeated the exercise once again with a second round of impromptu speeches. Everyone already noticed great improvements in all of the mentees during the second round!

Bryan giving his second impromptu speech on the topic: "Learning Doesn't Happen Only Inside a Classroom" while his schoolmates listened intently

The Leadership Team's portion of the day ended with the leadership building game called "The Key to Success." Just as the day before, the mentees were blindfolded then led into a "maze" consisting of a large rectangle with rope as its boundaries. Xun, the leader for today's game, repeatedly announced to the mentees that "there is only one way out of the maze," and that they were able to "raise their hands if they need help." The point of this exercise was to realize that, as service leaders, we cannot accomplish everything by ourselves - we need to rely on others to help us. The mentees who raised their hands and asked for help were un-blindfolded by a mentor and taken out of the "maze." The mentees learned the important lesson that an important key to success is humility.

We then transitioned into the one hour media development portion of our day, headed by the Children's Team (Jenssy, Ross, Amy, and Natasha). The mentees split up into four groups to brainstorm the definition of, causes of, symptoms of, and ways to prevent high blood pressure. This information will be used later on, as the mentees will be going to Lahug Elementary School next week to give short presentations about high blood pressure, as well as work together and in conjunction with UP High to create an information pamphlet that will be used during their presentations and at the Budlaan Children's Fair.

Michael explaining to the group that hypertension is known as "the silent killer"

We all regrouped and shared our ideas with the whole group and reviewed the content that we want to include in the mini presentations and the information pamphlet. The mentees did an amazing job combining the two main lessons of the day - public speaking and high blood pressure - as each group presented their ideas.

The presentation concluded the activities for the day, but before leaving, we all sang "Happy Birthday" to Lance on his special day! It was clear that every single mentor and mentee left UP feeling happy about their newfound relationships and excited to spend more time with each other :)

Happy Birthday, Lance!!

Bryan, Natasha, Alyx, and Chelsea - two mentor-me ntee pairs - doing a "wacky" pose

The mentors met at our hotel to debrief, take a short break, and begin working on preparations for tomorrow's workshop with CCNSHS. We did have time for a Mexican dinner though - tostaditas, quesadillas, nachos, and burritos - who doesn't get excited about that??

Project Leaders Anton and Janet, along with Natasha and Jan, CLEARLY stoked to pick up our Mexican dinner from Mooon Cafe!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Meet the Wonderful Students of Cebu Institute of Medicine.

The morning of Friday August 12th kicked off bright and early at 8 am. We rode the colorful Jeepney to the Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM) where we were warmly received by the 3rd year medical students. PP11 split up into 2 groups and each was guided on a tour of their school and facilities. We visited their lab and viewed some interesting specimens under the microscope and saw some preserved body parts.

We also saw their mock examination rooms, mock operation room, computer lab, library (pic of sleeping students) (sleeping in the library is universa!) where they took their tests and anatomy lab. Some of us even dissected some of the cadavers.

computer lab
mock operation room
The CIM students are very hard working and 100% of them passed their board exams! Congratulations! We learned they rarely used the lecture room, but most of their learning was problem based. Students are given a topic and have to find their own books to read and learn as much as they can, participate in group discussions, and have weekly quizzes! Despite all the work they have from studies and working late shifts at the hospital they were high spirited, funny, and took their time showing us around and giving us a lesson on how to take blood pressure. The lesson on taking blood pressures was very well taught and interactive. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the 3rd year students and we thank them for their amazing hospitality.

PP11 with CIM students and Dr. Montoya

We then returned to the hotel for lunch courtesy of Kenny Rogers. Given their poor service we received 3 free chickens! We spent most of the afternoon and night on Subcommittee work, team bonding, learning new games: twenty + one and drive, and more discussion of how we are going to define our Impact and Outcome of the project. We also had dinner delivered by McDonalds Filipino style. They serve rice with chicken nuggets and spaghetti is on the menu!

Then the adults subcommittee worked very hard that night gearing up for our early morning at the Budlaan village!

Wednesday, 17 August

Last Wednesday (August 17) was jam-packed with activities. The day started off with a jeepney ride to the Cebu Institute of Medicine (CIM), one of our local partners. Their medical students will be collaborating with us on the creation and implementation of a health education curriculum focusing on hypertension prevention.

This particular visit, however, was for a lecture given by Dr. Berden, who talked about hypertension in detail, including definition, types, symptoms and prevention. The lecture was a nice crash course/refresher on the science behind hypertension as well as information that will be useful for our health education curriculum. Afterwards, the team also got to mingle with the CIM students, who were extremely friendly and receptive. I look forward to getting to know them in the coming weeks :)

Our time with the CIM students was cut short, as we had to grab a quick lunch before heading over to the University of the Philippines - Cebu High School (UP-Cebu HS) for a symposium on environment and health. The school had asked us to participate, so we prepared a presentation on high blood pressure. It was a very exciting experience, as there were at least two hundred UP-Cebu HS students in attendance, and they were all very enthusiastic about our presence. Although it was a challenge to convey our key messages over the cheering and talking amongst the students, the team stepped up and did an admirable job.

After the PLs debriefed the team on the symposium, we headed over to my favorite restaurant in Cebu: Chika-An! We had invited the Gawad Kalinga officials we are working with in Budlaan, but unfortunately they weren't able to make it. Sayang! (what a shame) But I know we will get to know them more as we collaborate with them to implement the health fair and other activities.

That's all for today, but I can already tell that this is going to be a very epic and fun project :) Ingat kayo (take care)!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Tuesday 23rd August: Day 10

After having a late night work session, the leadership team was once again up for an early start, for the 7:30am working breakfast. This morning was devoted to subcommittee work, and we set about finalising and rehearsing agendas for the afternoon's leadership workshop taking place at Sci-High (CCNSHS). On the way to laminate nametags we stumbled upon none other than a shop selling mountain dew..... All you non-believers, here's proof i've not been going crazy..

Definitely Legit..
 After a hearty and healthy (not at all hypertension related) lunch of KFC, we headed off to CCNSHS to set up the workshop. One of our co-leaders, Anton had got caught and fined for jaywalking, a term unfamiliar to us Brits.

Cab 1 is awesomeeeee!

Awesome paper creations the students had made
And so the workshop began; with an icebreaker, the ingenious 'human chair', followed by the bulk of the day's focus, Public Speaking, which consisted of a discussion between mentors and mentees about previous experiences and ideas of what makes a good public speaker, and a hilarious gameshow-themed skit devised and performed by none other than our beautiful children's subcommittee!
Vote for your "BEST PUBLIC SPEAKER!!"
LESS is indeed more. That was the motto which would hopefully prove useful in the next shocking exercise, 'Impromptu Public Speaking' where students were given 1 minute to prepare a given topic for a speech. Scary, and unexpected, but feedback was offered by their mentors and when the second bout of 'Impromptu Public Speaking' came about the students fared much more successfully.
Ziggy tries his hand at discussing: "Hot or Cold"
Onto the teambuilding component of the day. Students were blindfolded and led to the gymnasium in what can only be described as an exercise of trust (with some mentors relishing control!) and took part in a game known as "The Key to Success", an exercise that involves putting the mentees blindfolded into a 'maze' (which in reality has no exit) and helping the students realize that they can always ask for help.

Blindfolded students waiting to be led to their next destination...
...then attempting to escape the 'maze'
The final leadership activity of the day was "River Crossing", a game that involves a 'river' of mentee-loving piranhas, leadership mentors under threat from rabid pandas, and 3 pieces of cardboard, with the objective being to cross the river intact with all your team-mates (to save the leadership mentors). Some of the methods adopted proved amusing but in the end team 3 completely dominated and managed to reach the other riverbank well in advance of the others, by using some clever innovation and teamwork. Mentees picked up especially on the fact that there were several different possible solutions and approaches to the same problem.
Jessie keeps an eye out for industrial espionage..
...but team 3 push ahead!
The children's subcommittee then took over for the final hour, dedicated towards the hypertension portion of the project, with the mentees splitting into small groups and preparing a short presentation detailing an overview of hypertension - with a definition, the symptoms, the causes, and how to prevent it.
Hyper-what? ...Hypertension!!
The rest of the day was dedicated to more subcommittee work, the adult team coming up with a provisional plan for next weeks health fair, and the children's committee working on their hypertension pamphlet. Us leadership folks moved onto planning the next day's agenda and leadership workshop.

Dinner was at a buffet, with an opportunity to sample more of the local cuisine.. and the place also had entertainment in the form of a guitarist and singer belting out acoustic versions of all the latest tunes - Bruno Mars, J-Lo, Jessie J. Our resident minstrel Andrew had a go on the stage which was a smashing hit!
Providing smash hits since 2011
Andrew showcases his skills!
The songs had to end eventually and after another round of spotlight, everybody finished the day with more work... GO LEADERSHIP TEAM!!