Elsa Thomasma – Returning Volunteer

As a returning volunteer to VFV in July 2011, I knew most of what to expect from my 5 month stay in the Philippines. Not only did I fall back in the love with the Philippines, but through VFV’s placements and projects I was able to gain a greater understanding of the Philippines as a whole, and go grow to know and love completely different aspects of their culture and many knew people.

For the second time I was placed at the RSCC orphanage, where my heart was effortlessly melted by the numerous adorable Filipino babies in the nursery. The vibrant happiness of the children, portrayed in such hard circumstances, showed me the resiliency and optimism that fills Filipino culture. My most notable experiences are, literally getting my hands and feet fully immersed in the VFV Build-A-Home Projects, in a rural farming community called Cangumbang. During my stay I was able to help complete three new Build-A-Home projects, it was unbelievable to be able to physically give families so much over such a short period of time. Even when it was pouring down rain or the area became flooded, construction of the homes continued. Not only did the community welcome the help of VFV staff and its volunteers, but the handfuls of children that lived in the area were dying to help us build too. Building the homes was such an amazing challenge filled with hard work and a generous amount of smiles. I never imagined my second trip to Tacloban could be so tremendously rewarding. I am so thankful to have formed a relationship with Volunteer for Visayans and to have had the opportunity to participate in all of the life changing projects they are constantly creating. I greatly look forward to returning yet again to the Philippines, as it seems near impossible for me to stay away. My blog site is http://blog.travelpod.com/travel-blog/elsat/2/tpod.html

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