The American Red Cross International Interns

The American Red Cross was fortunate enough to have three interns visit the Bay Area Chapter this past summer. Here is a reflection from CHARISSE MAE F. SALCEDO, a National Youth Council member from the Philippines Red Cross.

A promise til we meet again

When the plane landed in San Francisco International Airport, I did not know what to think. Mixed emotions filled my system. I am in United States of America, the bastion of democracy. I am in San Francisco!

American Red Cross and the Bay Area
Meet the bosses and their allies

The ARCBA experience was composed of meeting with different departments. It is fascinating to see how the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter governs all six counties. They are all structurally different as far as the office building is concern but they are one in their goal to prepare the community for emergency response such as an earthquake.

I am a big fan of the American Red Cross services. Hearing directly from the people who have hands-on experience in American Red Cross was amazing for me. I felt like I was very lucky to listen to these dedicated people. I learned so much from them.

Touring the Bay Area
I thought that this internship was purely meetings and brainstorming with other interns. However, we had the opportunity to go on tours and experience the life in San Francisco (music, Giants game, Alcatraz and more). This experience taught me that learning about how ARCBA works and its program is not all that there is to understand it. It also includes savoring the taste of the city.

Leadership Development Center 2011
The third week was another change of environment; the phenomenal Leadership Development Center 2011 in Santa Clara University for Red Cross Youth. The talent show was memorable. All the campers joined the ethnic dance that I prepared for them and I appreciated it. It made me cry. Then, the most awaited dance battle came and my clan, the purple grapes won. Even if we did not, I would still believe that my clan was the greatest.

The Bear Family
The symbol of the state of California is a bear. This symbol means strength. This was composed of the people that the interns and I became so close with and considered family. This sturdy tie amongst us showed how universal the Red Cross is. It taught me that all can be one like a family even if you are different in race, gender, creed, political belief and what not. I love my bear family

Mightiest Inventions
As the days pass by, it stunned me to see different gadgets used in the day-to-day lives of people in the Bay Area. I knew some of them before I came to ARCBA, but I never saw them as needs in my country. These inventions are ranked, 5 being the mightiest of them all.
1. Global Positioning System (GPS) – I always find it amazing to see how people get to where they want because of a small monitor that directs you where to go.
2. Dishwasher – this is a very time efficient invention. This made my easy life even easier.
3. The electronic bike –Our host mother played a huge role in my huge bear family. She has an amazing bicycle that can go up hills and other places without using the pedal. Of course, being the curious girl that I am, she made me try it and I can attest that it is a mighty invention.
4. R2D2 vacuum cleaner – this invention totally flabbergasted me! I don’t really know the name of the vacuuming robots so I named them the mini R2D2 triplets. They clean the house of our host family’s sons in a blast without them knowing where they went (maybe, they are maintaining a low profile.LOL!).
5. Whipped cream – I always see stars in Hollywood movies having whipped cream straight to their mouth from the can, but I had never tried it myself. We had our first and last day in ARCBA on the beach eating whipped cream straight from the can. It is the trademark of the 2011 Chip interns!

Time to say goodbye

This is the hardest yet most satisfying part of the entire Chapman-Holcombe International Intern Program. It is the hardest part, because I have learned to love all of American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter, especially its people. They have become part of my vast Red Cross family, my home away from home. It is satisfying because I have a jam-packed memory ready to share to my fellow Red Cross Youth in my National Society.

Truly, this part of my personal history has nourished me with a brighter perspective of life. This also became a new door of wisdom of Red Cross through the magic of sharing and volunteering. Thank you, Mary Lou Chapman and your church. Thank you, Super Z (Mr. Stephen Zellerbach). Thank you, ARCBA.

For me goodbye is not culmination of an activity and farewell to the people you met. This is a promise of doing better and reaching further until you meet again.

Charisse at a Giant’s Game, San Francisco

Charisse, Aliya, and Magnus (International Interns 2011) pose while exploring San Francisco

~Hanna Malak
[email protected]

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