Friday, October 16, 2009

Journeys of Filipino Volunteers Overseas. Barbara Fortunato, editor

Journeys of Filipino Volunteers Overseas. Barbara Fortunato, editor
In 2000, Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) started recruiting Filipinos for volunteer placements in other developing countries. Today, there are over 100 Filipino VSO volunteers working in 30 countries in Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. VSO named this program Bahaginan (sharing).
This book describes the experiences of ten Bahaginan volunteers who were posted overseas in 2001 and 2002. Some are still overseas, others have already returned to the Philippines. We can’t completely say “home,” because in our host communities abroad, we also found a home.

To VSO, volunteering means sharing skills and changing lives. It’s more than just a job; it’s also a process of discovering a country and its people, and just as importantly, discovering ourselves. We experienced this intimately, everyday, and feel enriched by our encounters. Above all, volunteering was immeasurable fun. We hope some of that spirit shows in this book. We hope that you, too, will share our thrill of learning and growing from cross-cultural exchanges.
The book traces the phases in the volunteering cycle: application, pre-departure flurry, first impressions on arrival, in-country and language training, getting on with the job, settling in and forming relationships, exploring wider roles for the volunteer, struggling with development dilemmas, joining in local festivals and the occasional road trip, and finally uprooting again to return to the Philippines.
We make no claims to writing the definitive volunteer experience, and certainly not the definitive experience of Filipinos overseas. The experiences here are solely our own and do not represent official VSO policy. Our glimpses of life overseas are personal impressions, not a judgment or an analysis of other people’s cultures. The book contains excerpts from our journals, letters, and reports, alongside new articles. Some names have been changed to protect the identity of individuals and organizations.
Veronica Avila
Integrated community development coordinator
Barbara Fortunato
Management and communications adviser
Leonora Garcia
Training development specialist and Research fellow
Maria Renniff Hibanada
Accounting lecturer
Maria Regina Jocson-Maulit
Occupational therapy trainer
Russia, Macedonia
Maria Pamela Palma
Community-based natural resource management specialist (VSO) and Natural resources management advisor (UNV)
Namibia (VSO) and China (UNV)
Roberto Pinauin
Community development worker (Zebediela) and Research and communications coordinator (SHEP)
South Africa
Tito Revereal
Management adviser
India, Cambodia
Vladymir Rivera
Organizational development adviser
French Vibar
Capacity-building adviser