Yes folks it’s true. Not only are we travelling, but we’re learning a thing or two along the way. Oh man, do I love it here. I love The Philippines. I wish we could stay longer! I’ve started and restarted this blog entry so many times trying to figure out what exactly I want to write about, because there is so much to say! So much is happening, even in the little moments, that can capture your attention. There’s just something about travelling that awakens all your senses; it lets you see and feel so much more than you ever would at home.
At first I wanted to write about the poverty. You can see it on every corner. I could write volumes about how heartbreaking it is to see babies lying on cardboard mats on the side of the street, while just across the road thriving businesses are going about their day. It’s heart-wrenching, but I have been happy to see people like the Congressman we met in Manila, who have a heart for their poverty stricken country. All the people here are so beautiful; everyone we’ve met has been so good to us. They’ve shown us such amazing hospitality wherever we’ve been, and it has been such an honour to be a part of all that is going on. Agh! There is so much to say! But I’ll have to stick to one thing.
In spite of all the things we’ve been through so far, I’ve particularly enjoyed a couple of the lectures we’ve had from Professor Shermon Cruz, and that really surprised me! I never thought that academics would be a part of an SSU travel term that I would enjoy this much. I am not an “academic”, I’m more about people and making the most out of the everyday, so I can’t believe how incredibly interesting I found these lectures. His first lecture was titled Asian Political Thought, and anyone who knows me knows that it has been a challenge for me to be interested in politics, so I am even more surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
He spoke about 3 philosophers who “speak outside western narratives and the context of western history”, and thus give us a different vantage point into global political history. They not only look at it differently, but give their personal oppinion and commentary on political events. I was so intrigued, because in my limited interaction with philosophy, I have seen almost nothing outside of the western philosophers. It was really awesome to see a completely new side to philosophy, and through it have a fresh look at world history. If you want to check out these philosophers for yourself, their names are Ibn Khaldun, Ssu-Ma-Chien, and Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar, so Wikipedia away!
Professor Cruz’ second lecture was on current social challenges in the Philippines, and he focused on education in Ilocos Norte. Inaccurate survey data, poverty, child labour, and lack of local languages in schools are just some of the challenges children in Ilocos Norte are facing with regards to education. He gave a passionate case for how important education is, and how he believes that educating our children will help us achieve the Millenium Development Goals by 2015. I wish everyone could have sat in on this lecture! It was so incredibly interesting, and hearing it from someone who was so obviously passionate about education was really great.
I can’t believe how much I am enjoying academics. This is ridiculous. And we’ve only just started! Oh man.I have loved it so much so far, and I am looking forward to whatever tomorrow may hold!
My love to you all in the Western world, and my love to The Philippines!