I have already had quite a few interviews over the past 2 days, and have gained a LOT of information that will help me in my research. On Sunday, I will be conducting a focus group with all of the childen that were helped by the Child Development Program that FHI ran in this community.
FHI used to work here, but does not anymore. I am in this community evaluating impact, post-integration. Thus, much of my research is going to have to be focused on what people tell me – which is sometimes very hard to do. Pastor Jerry actually had a schedule layed out for me for individual interviews throughout my time here.
But with this focus group I get to do Sunday, I will be able to begin to “triangulate” my data, and get different perspectives.
I have learned, since I got here to the Philippines, that the MED program that FHI operates can NOT be seperated from the Child Development Program (CDP). CDP can exist by itself, but FHI MED can NOT exist without the CDP.
Thus, I am realizing that it would make much more sense to modify my original research proposal, and focus on how MED complimented CDP, and how both of these things together impacted the community.
The CDP of Food for the Hungry takes a very holistic approach to ministry to the children. Where most “sponsorship” programs just help the children, FHI strives to empower the children, familes, church AND community to help one another. The sponsorship that a child receives benefits the child for food and school supplies. But it goes MUCH deeper than this. The local church is first consulted and partnered with.
In addition, FHI strives to empower the church to affect change, and to prevent the community from becoming dependent on FHI. For this reason, FHI actually implements a phase-out of every community they work in after so many years. For this specific community, FHI worked here for 13 years. Now, the church is continuing the work. This is VERY healthy for everyone involved.
In addition to my research, I will be having a “home-stay” with families in the community, where I will spend the night with them, and then “go to work” with the father the following day. This will enable me to see what the jobs are like in the community, and also continue to build a relationship with individual families and especially the men in the community.
Even though I have only been here for less than a week, my heart has been filled with joy and gladness. I am very happy where I am. It is hot and humid, but this is not a big deal. I love the people I am with, and the relationships that I have already formed and will continue to build over the next 2&1/2 weeks are amazing.
Take care, and thank you for your prayers. I will be sure to post pictures soon, and will try to get pictures of my interpretive dance (that I am doing with other Filipinos who are around my age – including the ones I mentioned above – Arthur, Franklin, Julie, and Leah) this Sunday.