Letter from Germany – the ERDA experience

photo taken from http://1.design-milk.com/images/2010/06/icon-letter-envelope-1.jpg

Did I just leave school to go back there? It seems like I just did.

Last June 2012,  I finished high-school in Germany. A lot of my classmates started right away into their college life while I thought of doing something else first so I applied for a social program, which led me in the end to ERDA TECH. I was assigned to assist the teacher in ICF or Internet and Computer Fundamentals. Since I was planning to study something related to engineering so it was a very good decision.

Time went by fast and and after some preparation I arrived in the Philippines early September a year ago. Exhausted from the weather change, I was warmly greeted by the staff of ERDA. Soon after my arrival Mr. Magsalin gave me my assignment for that year, assisting Mr. Ganigan during the ICF classes of Grade 7 and 8. Since this whole experience should not be only about technical stuff and teaching, but also about socialization and getting to know a new culture, Mrs. Owen guided my co-volunteer and I through the district of Pandacan.

Sooner than later I stood in front of the class. Teaching was not that hard for me and I truly enjoyed it, both in the computer lab and in the classroom. Time is said to fly so fast and Christmas was already there as well as the students’ Christmas party – it was a blast. The New Year started with two other great events. We had the intramurals and the students disco. I never experienced such a great atmosphere between students from all year levels. No matter if you were in the first grade or fifth grade, I felt a sense of community I never felt before between students. Keep on going, ERDAnians.

Another great honor for me personally was to join the ERDA faculty and staff during the annual Buling-Buling parade – another unforgettable experience in the Philippines. As the time moved on, Easter was coming and so the end of the school-year. After the last exams were done, the fifth year graduated and the fabulous GS-Prom was celebrated, ERDA became quiet. It shouldn’t last long though, after two months all the ERDAnians were back.

Although the former fifth graders graduated there were more students to come, the new Grade 7 or first year students. Along with them I got to work with two new partner teachers, Ms. Navarro and Ms. Lustria. Despite the joy of being able to teach again, there was a bit of sadness coming, slowly, but surely. My time in the Philippines shouldn’t be long anymore. June went by, as did July, and soon I got my ticket back home. To make it even harder, the weather decided to play foul on all of us letting it rain for a whole week that they had to suspend school for the entire last week of my stay. I was fairly sad not being able to say goodbye to all of them in person. The last days were happy as well as sad. On the one side I was sad leaving the Philippines, on the other side I was happy about all the pleasant experiences I was able to experience there.

A big part of those experiences was of course ERDA. I felt I was truly a part of this community I cannot describe this due to the lack of words. All of you, faculty, staff and students were all lovely people, not shy to accept me in the ERDA community. I really do value this as a great gift, one bigger than I could ever return. You are awesome! Thanks for everything each of you did for me to support me in my work and making it a super pleasant stay in ERDA and the Philippines. Thanks a lot!

David Dorner

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