Graduate School of Education's Ecological Teaching and Learning program graduate brings her skills and tireless efforts to the Peace Corps.
In the Philippines, one Lesley alumna is serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV). Dana Jordan has been working in San Donisio, near Iloilo City on Panay Island, in an area recently devastated by Super Typhoon Haiyan (known as Yolanda in the region). “Relief is slow going here,” she reported to her fellow Ecological Teaching and Learning colleagues early on. Nonetheless, Dana has been working long hours to help in any way she can.
“It has been almost a week since typhoon Yolanda hit the Philippines, and for many volunteers it has been mixed with feelings of grief and helplessness. For the past week the Peace Corps Volunteers from Iloilo province have been consolidated in Iloilo city where (like other volunteers from affected areas) we have been waiting to hear from our host families, anxiously waiting to go back to our sites to help, and waiting for the impossible to happen--for things to return to normal. Surrounded by news programs displaying footage of destruction and loss it is hard to not feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility to our communities; they took care of us and now it’s our time to help them. But how can we help? One volunteer answered this question, channeling her feelings into productivity and inspiration. While inquiring at the provincial government office as to how she can be of assistance, Dana Jordan (pictured at right of photo) met a team of volunteers who are tirelessly working to send aid to the effected municipalities in Iloilo. Without hesitation, Dana volunteered and encouraged the other PCVs at our consolidation point to join the effort. So for the past few days we have been packing trucks with rice, canned sardines, noodles, and bottled water, all with the hope that some of this aid makes it into the hands of the loved ones we left behind. Packing the trucks is physically draining and often becomes too stressful for us to work very long. However, with seemingly superhuman stamina, Dana has been volunteering entire days, working some nights until 9pm. She quickly made friends at the aid dispatching center and has even taken over as a team leader. Yesterday I went to volunteer and was inspired just watching Dana; she was speaking nearly perfect Ilongo, directing people, tallying bags of rice, and doing all of this with a contagious smile. She has become somewhat of a celebrity at the provincial office, even bringing the other Filipino volunteers candy and words of encouragement during her breaks. Dana truly epitomizes the meaning of volunteer; she is determined to do whatever she can to help her community. She told me that while volunteering she had the chance to talk with her mayor who asked her, “When are you coming home?". Dana said that hearing the mayor call San Donisio her home reinforced her desire to help knowing that San Donisio was her home and the community was her family. Dana has been using the aid delivery trucks to send letters and personal care packages to her site, her host family, her co-workers, and her friends; inspiring other PCVs to do the same. From her work she has inspired volunteers to not give up or become discouraged, even when our small bags of rice and bottles of water seem useless against the mass destruction broadcasted on the news.” Relief efforts continue. Help if you can.
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