Oswego Resident Serves Peace Corps in the Philippines

OSWEGO, NY – In early July, Tammy Hadlow began a new chapter in her life – a half a world away from home.

“I’ve always aspired to volunteer on a global level,” the Port City native told Oswego County Today.

Oswegonian Tammy Hadlow at her "outdoor classroom" in the Philippines.
Oswegonian Tammy Hadlow at her “outdoor classroom” in the Philippines.

For the past several weeks, she has been working as an environment volunteer with the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

She is living and working in a community on a variety of activities, including teaching environmental awareness and working with coastal resource management extension.

“My group, Batch 272, arrived in Manila on July 7 after a brief stay in LA for ‘staging’ where administrative tasks were attended to. From Manila airport we traveled to a facility in Cavite to undergo two weeks of Initial Orientation,” she explained. “The training consisted of an introduction to the Filipino language, food and culture.”

Following orientation, they were divided by sector (education etc.) into training clusters and sent to live with different host families in Bataan Province.

“My cluster contained nine trainees and we lived in a small fishing village called Mabayo,” Hadlow said. “While at our training site, it was our task to continue to learn about the culture, study language (Tagalog) and learn the skills we would need to become effective coastal resource management volunteers. The technical training included assessments of coastal ecosystems such as seagrass, coral, fish and mangrove trees.”

Prior to completing training at the site, everyone attended a supervisor’s conference where each Peace Corps trainee learned where they would serve the next 24 months, met their supervisor or counterpart and completed mini projects with them.

“Following our eight plus weeks at site, we bid farewell to our host families and returned to Manila to wrap up our pre-service training and have a crash course in our target language. There are more 85 languages in the Philippines, Tagalog being the national language. Regional languages and dialects abound,” she said.

On September 18, Batch 272 was sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers at the US Embassy.

Here is a shot of the fisherman's beach landing area in Barangay Mabayo. The boats are called bangkas and are used for fishing and transportation.
Here is a shot of the fisherman’s beach landing area in Barangay Mabayo. The boats are called bangkas and are used for fishing and transportation.

“The very next day, we dispersed throughout the central Philippines region known as the Visayas to serve our term and work to make a positive impact on our host communities,” Hadlow said. “So far, this has been a most rewarding experience immersing into Filipino culture, being exposed to numerous new ideas and being with so many like-minded people. I can’t begin to express the graciousness of the Filipino people! They are by far the most kind and giving people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, working with and living amongst.”

She will live and work for two years with the local people.

Hadlow is a graduate of Oswego High School. She then attended State University of New York at Oswego where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies in 1990. Later, she attended State University of New York’s College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, where she earned her master’s degree in environmental studies in 1998.

“I hope to bring my work/life experience to my new community and be part of a successful project that will have positive lasting effects on my host community,” said Hadlow.

She joins the 448 New York residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 12,863 New York residents who have served in the Peace Corps since 1961.

About Peace Corps/Philippines:

More than 8,680 Peace Corps volunteers have served in the Philippines since the program was established in 1961. Currently, 223 volunteers serve in the Philippines. Volunteers work in the areas of education, youth development and coastal resource management. Volunteers are trained and work in Tagalog, the national language, and regional dialects, as appropriate.

About the Peace Corps:

Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 210,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 8,073 volunteers are working with local communities in 76 host countries in agriculture, community economic development, education, environment, health and youth in development. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment and the agency’s mission is to promote world peace and friendship and a better understanding between Americans and people of other countries. Visit www.peacecorps.gov for more information.