Monday, March 17, 2008

Even More Exciting updates!!

We are officially done with 3rd year! We wrote our diagnostic exams, ended our OR and Skills labs, and wrote our final exams! Did pretty well as usual, though no academic scholarships this semester.

Also, my official duties as 3rd year coordinator of the SB CON are nearly over. I am happy with my contribution, but in all honesty, relieved. I wrote several letters on behalf of our student population. Likely nobody will give me any certificate for it, but I also participated in the decision making processes of our Student Body heavily. My list of accomplishments included:

1. Active participation and attendance of 90%+ of all scheduled meetings with SB. (out of approximately 30 or so scheduled meetings). Signatory on a corresponding number of duly witnessed and written resolutions.

2. Participation in protection and maintenance of student rights such as protection of student participation in extra curricular projects, creation of an RLE syllabus, tuition fee increase consultation and discourse with the administration and Supreme Student Council meetings regarding future student body participation.

3. Participation in projects such as Nursing Day (a lead coordinator, participant), Tanghal Galing II (team coordinator) Recognition Ceremony semester 1 (team coordinator), Recognition Ceremony semester 2 (Emcee, coordinator), CON website (originator, lead coordinator), T-Shirt (delivery coordinator), Orphanage Outreach (participant, volunteer coordinator), NCP Seminar (coordinator)

With all that wrapped up, Karen and I have been enjoying our vegetarianism (though I am still a student in this regard). A recent trip to Bliss Cafe got us invited to Jim and Shanti's house for a wine and cheese party. We had a great time there, met new and interesting people, and played a marathon game of Cranium, a game I had played with my brother et al once before. Karen was invited to show some of her art in Bliss Cafe. I have put the links on my link section, and they can be seen at her portfolio site here. I am real proud of her, and her work is just great. I talked her into creating the portfolio online just for the heck of it. This is just the stuff she has done in the past 2 weeks, mind you. Another work in progress, I guess you could say.

Our friend Al came back for a vacation from Iran, in between semesters and the Iranian new year. I think the time away was a bit hard on him in some way. He seems a bit "off". Anyways, we and the gents downstairs are thrilled to have him back. We have had a few sessions with them already. Amir seems to have met a good match recently, Sheen, a nice English major also studying at UB. We hope him the best, he was unlucky a few times, but he "got back on the horse" and seems to be enjoying himself.

Grace and Mao invited us to join them in Burgos again. We have to reluctantly decline. Too much to get done before our guests arrive only 7 days from now!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Some updates

Well, another couple of weeks, and it will be another year down, and one to go! I can't wait to see my mother and grandmother who will be visiting when we are finished for our mini summer break at the end of this month.

We rearranged our living room, with the help of our landlord who allowed us to store some stuff in the attic area. We have more of a lounge zone, rather than a sprawling living room now, with our Persian carpet as a featured piece, and we closed off the second opening of our hallway to warm up the home, and add some interest to the room.

We spent a wonderful day last week with very "in need" children at an orphanage. We organized a group of the college of nursing officers, got some much needed supplies such as disposable diapers, antibiotics, and other items, and set out early in the morning. When we arrived, the children were REAL amped up and excited to get visitors. The orphanage is an aging facility, with an infant wing of 10 infants, and a toddler/child wing of about 30. These kids are either abandoned, or have been seized by the government due to poor living conditions. When they walked by you, they would touch you as they walked by. Many would just attach themselves to your legs. They really seemed to thrive on human touch. The tireless people running the facility were very thankful and appreciative of our help that day. We went food shopping, and bought a large amount of fresh vegetables and fruits, as the facility director requested that they are usually under stocked with such things. The condition is entirely ironic, because La Trinidad is the proverbial capital city of the "Salad Bowl" of the Philippines. We cooked up chicken/pork adobo and chop suey, and left behind 20-30 kilograms of vegetables and fruit. After, we played games, sang songs and held, rocked and changed babies.

Inevitably, one is faced with a plethora of inner thoughts when visiting such a place. Why is the government not providing more for these few numbers of neglected innocents? How could someone have such poor communal or familial ties to allow this to happen? And on and on. Apparently, government funds are dispersed to the orphanage through an agency, that further lines the pockets of several sub agencies until it reaches it's final destination, usually 1/10 of the original amount. If there was ever a good argument against government funding, here it is loud and clear. Ease the taxation of businesses, and allow an orphanage to be directly sponsored by unburdened corporate entities (such as my school, formula companies, etc). The orphanage told us that even though they are a government agency, the majority of their funding and ability to survive comes from private contributions. Considering the huge amount of bureaucratic tendencies of government agencies here and everywhere else, they likely consume most of their government allowance just keeping up with paperwork.