Thursday, December 3, 2015

Living Leyte People Features: Jayson Alexander Carr, All Hands Volunteer

Jayson Alexander Carr
AGE: 22
Originally from: California, USA
Position held prior to coming over to the Phillipines: Graduated in May of 2015, worked under a government contractor company cleaning up after the Avian Flu epidemic in the US for USDA.

One would need to do a double take on Californian Jayson Alexander Carr because he could very easily pass for Liam Helmsworth with a beard right? But make no mistake, this gentleman is worth his weight in California gold because of his big heart. Jason volunteered here in the Philippines because to put it in his own words, he wasn’t happy not doing anything at home in a humanitarian sense. This is his interview. 

LL: Can you describe the place and vibe where you come from?
JAC: I come from Orange City, California, a suburb, I live in a track home or a cookie cutter home where everything looks the same, it’s a  small, safe and nice little bubble of a neighborhood. 

LL: What was your major in college?
JAC: I majored in psychology.

LL: What was your life like before you came?
JAC: I was the intermediary between contractors and the government, we were in place to make sure there was no over charging of equipment and services. Life was great, my parents provided for everything, I had a private catholic education. I had plenty of opportunities to take. Living in Southern California, the weather is amazing, there’s the ocean, it has a relax feel.

LL: What's your impression of our place?
JAC: I was in Manila first, then when I came to Tacloban, there was this welcoming party of the porters who would clap (a rhyme) and bid us welcome. When I arrived, the sun was just rising, the fishermen were already out to sea. It was a great welcome. I find that the shops are distinguishable, the sari-sari shops, it’s redundant but it makes sense. I’d never seen the living conditions I have seen here, I visited in the coastal towns and to see so much trash… I saw toilets that are on the beach with kids just playing underneath it. It doesn’t make sense to me why there’s poop where you play. I also saw these signs on some barangays which said, “this is a public feces-free barangay,” I didn’t understand why the sign was even there. The way I see it, you start with a clean bedroom, your begin and end the day somewhere clean, then you extend this to your entire house, then your neighborhood, then your community.

LL: How can we improve our place and as a people in general?
JAC: Knowledge on cleaning up trash.

LL: What pivotal moment made you choose to become a volunteer/aid worker?
JAC: I heard about All Hands from a friend who went to Nepal, also a big reason was that I never traveled, and I think when you travel and make a home in a place, it would involve you in making a place better. Also, I am a huge follower of humanitarian efforts. Personally, I wasn’t happy, I was only sitting at home.

LL: Has your experiences here affected or changed you as a person? And do you think that your experience here will be useful for you in the future?
JAC: It has definitely helped me because it has actualized an idea I had with traveling. I didn’t know what I could do with my own hands. Regarding NGOs, you get ideas about how to do work and coming into All Hands, it’s different because you are doing labor, though I was expecting more locally sourced help, I didn’t realize the projects would take the whole day for the team.

LL: Are you an activist or an advocate?
JAC: I’m an advocate. I spread the knowledge that way.

LL: Given all that has happened in the world, the news we see, the political and religious upheavals between countries an ideologies, there’s terrorism and the natural disasters which we cannot control. Do you feel there is hope for the future of our planet?
JAC: Yes, I feel it in myself, everyday when I can control myself. Then I know that someone else can control their own selves. For me, there’s empathy out there, every human has the same biological grain and if i can do it, it’s possible for someone on the opposite end to do it too, if there’s a little hope than theres hope for the general sense. If you can do it in your way then anybody can do it.

LL: Given an opportunity to resolve one global issue or conflict happening in the world right now,  which one would you take a gander at?
JAC: The refugee crises in Syria through Europe.

LL: Apart from volunteer work or being an aid worker, what’s the next best thing that makes you eloquent or effusive with words?
JAC: Reading and writing, I like essays, I write from the stream of consciousness because that’s what people are, that’s why I studied psychology.
LL: What have you written?
JAC: Letters to people, essays from my own stream of consciousness.

LL: What’s next for you?
I have a flight booked to Vietnam and I will go to the Northern province to teach English in Hagiang (pronounced Hazhing), then I will go back home to pay my student loans and I want to help in the Syrian refugee crises.

LL: Wanna play one-word-answer questions and Bonus Q?
Moon or Sun?   Moon
Monochrome or Colored?   Colored
Iceland or Australia?  Australia
FĂștbol or Football?  Soccer
Coffee or Tea?  Coffee
Eagle or Dolphin?  Eagle

Bonus Q: If you were given the power to spend 2 hours with someone who has passed on, who would it be and why?
JAC: Earnest Hemingway, I just want to know how did it, how he get there, what made him write what he wrote. I’m not even sure if I can say anything, it will be more like he will be the one who would talk and I listen. 

LL: Good choice.

As we conclude the interview, we wish Jayson all the best in the world and all his endeavors. What a fortuitous circumstance that we first got to know him while he was extending himself to us in such a selfless way. 

Jason, from all of us, Thank you very much!

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