Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Brett's Blog

Our Cebu trip is coming toward the midway point. It has been quite an adventure. The school which I was assigned to is called Mabini, it is the second high school up the mountain. The drive, which would be scary for some, is so rewarding once you reach the school. On the first day we were presented with a celebration welcoming us. It included numerous singing and dancing numbers. It is amazing to think that they did all of the work just for us. After the welcome festivities we were escorted to the principles office where a huge breakfast spread was waiting for us. We were all anxious to get to the classroom so after eating our second breakfast, we did just that. Our classroom age ranged from 15 to 16 year olds. At first most of them were quiet but with the help of ice breakers we could feel the excitement in the room.

Due to the circumstances of the opening ceremonies we were somewhat short on time so we had to take out some of our activities. The activity which I believed the students enjoyed the most was the critical thinking bridge making activity by our engineering group. With this activity students were given straws and tape to construct a bridge that could support weight hooked onto it. After the time limit elapsed you could easily see that these kids were not just smart but very creative. The students reacted well to the testing portion of the activity. They enjoyed the competition of who's bridge could hold the most weight.








As I conclude my first blog post it makes me think how fortunate I am to have so many great opportunities in my life. This has been a real eye opener helping such beautiful people who are struggling with poverty. It is amazing to see that just the presence of people outside of their community puts a smile on their faces.


Brett Trager Kusman
- University of Louisville International Service Learning Program

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jasmine's Blog

Day 1-
12-6-12
I am sitting in the Louisville airport. Everyone's spirits are high and everyone is super excited to be going on this trip. We had one late arriver who had us a little worried but everyone is here now.
My friend dropped me off at the airport and he was more nervous than I was.
We're sitting here talking about s new app called snap chat. It seems cool. I can't believe how much I had to get done before I left. I took the GRE and two finals in one week. I still have to take a psych final while I'm over there.
Day 2-
12-7-12
2 hour flight delay in Seoul Korea and a 4 flight later we are finally in Cebu! The airport was hot and muggy. After stepping outside I found it hard to breathe. That's how humid it was!
We took a short bus ride to Bluewater Maribago resort. Its gorgeous! In the lobby there is a wicker Christmas tree that is huge. We were all in awe at the Beauty of the hotel and its still dark outside so we can only imagine how beautiful it will be in the daylight. WiFi works great in the dining area which differs from the Botswana trip. we went up to our room to change clothes and wash up. There were sliding doors made out of wood. Our doors lead to a perfect hotel room with the most comfortable beds you can imagine.... Tempurpedic maybe? Right outside of our hotel was one of three pools. There is even a water slide!!!
We had dinner, or maybe it was lunch, I don't know. It was small burgers with cucumbers and baked chips. I was craving a coke after drinking so much water on the plane. It was really sweet. After dinner my room mate Lauren and I went back to our room. We talked about how we were going to hit the beach first thing in the morning, after breakfast of course. I crashed after like 5 minutes of laying there! That was the best sleep I've had in weeks!
Day 3-
12-8-12
Early morning. We rose at 8am willingly. I opened the doors to look outside and literally gasped at the beauty of the resort pool outside of the hotel room. The hot air rushed inside and took my remaining breath away. We went to the dining hall for breakfast and there was so much variety in the buffet. French toast, pancakes, bacon,and more native meats. Fruits, oatmeal, pastries, sushi, and rice. Coconut and watermelon juices, and some other juice that tasted like companies. It was all very delicious and the service was great. We couldn't wait to hit the beach which we kind of stumbled upon.
We started taking pictures immediately, not wanting to miss anything.
We went into the private beach which was filled with sea urchins, hermit crabs, and starfish. It wasn't overwhelming though. Brett and I rode jet skiis which was my favorite part of the day. I had been on a jet ski before in Daytona but I was too scared to drive it. I actually drove this time and went so fast pushing the gas button almost all the way down. The wind in my face, the water splashing up cooling us off.... What a rush! We stopped at some points to look at the water, it was indigo blue yet still clear. Then Brett wanted to drive again and almost killed me I'm sure, we did doughnuts, spins, and wave jumps.
Later we played volleyball with Mike, Paul, and David (the dentistry students) and our new Brazilian friend, Julian. I had to keep jumping in the water it was so hot and I was burning from the sun.
We had lunch and again it was very delicious. The corn/potato soup was my favorite. We all had a taste of each other's plates to try different things out.
Not long after that we went snorkeling. The guys insisted on bartering with the man for a lower price which worked out in the end. We rode out on two man made rafts. Elliot, the engineering student, gave us quick lessons on how to use the masks. I dove in and although I didn't see many fish at first, it was cool seeing how my hair and skin looked under the water. I saw little schools of fish, colorful starfish, anemonies, and coral reef. I'm a pretty good swimmer but it was hard to swim in these waters.
We took a short walk to the local grocery and that was our first experience in the "real Cebu." little ones were selling things out of boxes and everyone seemed to stare. People drive crazy here. We got in the store and that was interesting.
We washed up and got ready for dinner which was another exquisite meal. There was a local band and even a native performance. I loved every minute of the performance!
My camera went dead halfway through recording it but I still got some good footage. All in all it was great day!
-Jasmine Shadding-
- University of Louisville International Service Learning Program















Sunday, December 9, 2012

Max's Blog


12-06-2012
We're on the cusp of what promises to be my worst birthday of all time, but I can't pretend I'm not excited about it. Somehow spending my "special day " on a plane and sacrificing 13 hours to the time change doesn't seem so bad when compared to the greater purpose of going to the Philippines for ISLP. Besides, I like plane food.
I think what I'm most excited about right now is the idea of just getting this trip started, though. The past few days have admittedly been pretty crazy in that it was difficult to put a bow on finals week by the end of reading day, but I know that I'll be happy to have sacrificed a little sleep this week to have the luxury of enjoying the tropics while my friends are still studying. The plane at this point represents putting the semester behind me and getting this adventure started. As far as initial expectations, I'm honestly trying not to have any. I expect to be a little bit culture shocked (especially in the schools), and students that have gone before have described just how 'different' the lifestyle of the people in Cebu is, but I'm doing my best to greet the trip with open arms and take it all in.
More than anything I'm just excited. I'm trying to stay conscious of what a unique opportunity it will be to see new people, see new places, try new foods, and serve in Banilad elementary school. More to come!
Max Voorhies
- University of Louisville International Service Learning Program