Our volunteers work in various projects in Tacloban City and neighboring towns within Leyte, Philippines. The project areas covered by VFV are less privileged communities that need support. Depending on the distance from Tacloban City, these areas take up to 1 and 1/2 hours to reach by means of public transport system. The various projects address issues facing education, healthcare, social welfare, and community development in rural areas.
Where will you stay?
Homestay Accommodation: The thought of living with a foreign family, especially in a developing country, can be daunting. You may wonder whether you will get along with the family, be accepted by them, and feel comfortable in the home. We understand this and have gone to great lengths to ensure that your homestay experience will be special. We evaluate families carefully before accepting them into our homestay program, and we train and monitor them closely.
- Volunteers assigned to our Tacloban area projects will be placed with homestays in Bliss, where we are located. Bliss is a congested, low-income neighborhood but it has a low crime rate and is safe. There is strong community cohesion and pride, and the neighborhood homes and surroundings are relatively well-maintained. Our community center is located in the middle of Bliss. An adjacent basketball court area serves as a gathering place for the community. Here you’ll see youth playing basketball; tethered cocks staking out their territories on the sidelines; children keeping busy; adults sitting on benches, exchanges stories; slabs of meat being cut on portable tables; and vendors selling their wares.
- Most of our homestay families have been with us for many years and are experienced in working with international volunteers. They take pride in their role and view the volunteer as a valued member of the family. They want volunteers to experience Filipino culture and participate in the family’s daily activities as well as special celebrations that come up. You will eat the same local food as the family (though the homestay parents know what foreigners typically enjoy). Let us know if you have special dietary requirements so that we can meet your needs. The homestay will provide you bottled water to drink, as it would be best for travellers to be cautious and not drink tap water.
- All homes have electricity and running water. You will have a private bedroom for you alone or that you share with another volunteer, and you will sleep under a mosquito net. A fan will be provided as none of the homes are air-conditioned. There is just one bathroom in the house that is shared by all family members. Your home will be safe, clean and comfortable, but living conditions will be much lower than in developed country.
- The bathroom accommodations, in particular, are very basic and volunteers will be taking cold water, bucket baths. Because the weather in the Philippines is tropical, volunteers typically say that the cold water baths have been refreshing. However, each person needs to consider whether these conditions will be acceptable. There will be other things to adjust to, including the neighborhood roosters who will announce the start of a new day with pre-dawn crowing. You will be taken out of your comfort zone, at least initially. Most volunteer report they adjusted fairly quickly to these conditions.