Sunday, July 15, 2007


My co-worker asked to borrow an exercise in a grammar book of mine but wanted clarification first. The exercise was to help students understand present and continuing present tense. It was a chart of a boys diet and then the diet he should have. She said she was confused.White rice was on the list of bad foods. This is a staple in the Filipino diet. I explained to her about the higher value of unprocessed brown rice. But its mal mahal (expensive) she said. She was also confused as to why white breads and cookies were bad for you. This threw me for a loop. I explained to her the low nutritional value in white bread and that cookies were in fact mostly sugar....Of course, Filipinos eat pastries with jam or meat filling, cookies or egg/root vegetable flavored cakes at least twice a day as their mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack. She said, but they are made from flour and flour is good for you. I was totally baffled. This explains why more than 50% of Filipinos over the age of 60 have diabetes. Their idea of nutrition is outdated by about 50 years....

I've been pretty lucky so far. Even though I ate fish and seafood at my first host home, I managed to get away with not having to eat any meat in the my second host home and was relieved. I wanted to resume my vegetarian lifestyle. Apart from two instances where I drank juice at someone's house and am now sure it was well or tap water, I have been relatively bug free. Knock on wood. I take my malaria pills routinely and get as much sleep as I need. After graduate school, this is very sweet....Although sleeping in on the weekends is virtually impossible so I don't think I've ever slept past ten in my old host home. In my current home, without the sound barrier of being in an inner room,etc., I am up most of the time on the weekends by 8 am....what with all the neighborhood dogs barking, my neighbor's kids screaming/talking and people doing their laundry on my front step which is incidentally right next to the pump...That's the first sound I hear at 4 or 5 am....The crank craaaank rush sound of someone washing their face and teeth...probably neighbor, Lola she is the cook in the house and the head of the home is usually the first one up to bathe, get dressed and start preparing breakfast for the family....I don't envy her...Everytime I see her she is either sweeping, cooking or washing clothes....I almost want to offer to help but I spend enough time as it is washing my own clothes...It takes an average of 3 hours, 2 to 3 times a week to get everything from workout clothes, work pants and blouses, underwear, socks and towels washed...Maybe one weekend morning/afternoon I'll help her....maybe when I'm feeling a little more secure with my Tagalog. (She speaks only a few words in English and they are barely decipherable through the few blackened teeth that she has.) Such a sweet woman though. Like most Filipinos, she is always greeting me and smiling....Westerners could learn a lot from Filipinos. They are always pleasant, never raise their voice accept to joke and tease and they are never confrontational, they try to either joke about a problem or ignore it...Constant peacemakers they are....And their patience so strong its almost unimaginable to Westerners how much they will tolerate....

MSG is used in everything from fast foods, cafeteria style foods, all baked goods, etc. I now understand why I was always sick every time I had training sessions at hub...It was all the MSG they put in the food. It was so strong when I was at PST2 that I spent every night but the last one going to bed by 7 or 8 pm, I was so ill. I realized it was the MSG in the eggs and avoided them on the last two days and recovered in time to return to site....Lucky me.


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