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Expat Social Support Groups

In the past, I wrote about some Expat groups I belonged to in Davao. One of problems is in most of the groups here and in many organizations everywhere is assistance.

There were a few groups I had belonged to and for different reasons I only stayed involved with one of them. It name is Friends of Mindanao. The group designed its name as not to limit its attendance to only expats. Anyone is welcome including Filipinos.

The group was originally started as a networking group for Expats and Filipinos looking for business networking and connections. Since it is difficult for Foreigners to open a business the group took on a more social flavor. The group had an open, friendly atmosphere where all were welcomed. At each meeting new guests were welcomed and all introduced themselves so all knew a little of each other’s background.

Well, as I have seen in most groups, a few have to do it all and the rest just come to listen. The man who started the group passed away a few months back and his partner in the group and in business took over. I took care of the membership list and emailing all members of important updates for the group. There was another member who helped MC the meetings and another who looked for and arranged some field trips. The man who helped start the group now has business in Manila and is only in Davao two weeks a month, the member helping as MC is moving back to the states as I will soon and the member running the field trips is only here about six to nine months a year since he has a business back home.

In the past few months, we have asked other members to stand up and assist with the group and all you get is grumbling and sitting on their hands.  It is interesting, these are usually the same people who are first to complain about problems but get quiet when asked to help.

In a country where there is a fair amount of Foreigners with different financial levels, different relationship situations and even different home countries, we all have something in common. We are all Expats living and trying to survive here. With a group like this, others might be going through the same problem or have had such a situation in the past. With this group, there is a good chance someone has had the same problem and can assist you to help with a solution or advice to get past it.

Sometimes you even meet someone who will turn out to be a good friend. I have made friends through this group and know other that have also. Too bad many are too self-centered, too lazy, or just is not willing to step up and help this group survive.

I had a similar situation years ago. I was asked to become Scoutmaster of a Boy Scout troop. I took over the troop because I felt they needed to continue. With Boy Scouting, the boys need to have camping trips and most campgrounds are a fair distance from our area. I met with the boys fathers and asked who would help with transportation and extra adult supervision on the trips. I would get many different excuses why they could not help. The boys would get upset that other troops had regular camping trips, why was it we did not. Eventually I had to disband the troop and find other troops for the boys to join.

When a group dies, the members lose a useful organization to belong to. In addition, the ones that will not help will be the first to complain that the organizers caused it to end. Well as I officially announced this morning of my soon move back to the States, at least I will not be here to hear their complaints.

If any of the members follow this site, I thank you all for the time I have spent getting to know each of you and am sorry you were not willing to step up and help keep it alive.

6 Responses to “Expat Social Support Groups”

  1. Sintea says:

    It would be such a pity if your group will end just because the spirit of volunteerism is rather weak among its members. Adjustment and integration becomes easier when in the company of others such as your organization. You have a bigger voice in effecting change. I can also see that your projects go both ways…it helps your members and the new community they have chosen to live in. I hope that some of your members will do heed the call of service. Good luck!:-)

    • Bruce says:

      I hope so too. Just as many have asked me to continue this site after I move back to the U.S. since it gives a lot of information for people living here, planning to move here and for those looking to marry a Filipina.
      Unfortunately it will be difficult to write as many articles as I have been writing and my information about living here will get stale since I am not here. That is why I ask for co-writers to assist.

  2. Such pity to hear this Bruce. I started reading your articles a couple of weeks ago because Google brought me here. I know some of your articles ranks well in Search Engine. Maybe you can hire a Pinoy Content Writer to help you continue with this slick site.

    • Bruce says:

      I looked at your site and I see it is very informative and well written and will add your link to my Blog Roll. Thank you and if you feel my site need to continue and would be willing to write articles about life in the Philippines and the cultural differences, I would appreciate it and will put an ad for your site on mine.

  3. Leon Andrews says:


    Have to disagree with your view on friends of Mindanao being in trouble, as you know I’m a fellow member and have helped contribute to trips, finding speakers etc. My view is FOM is healthy and strong and only needing a little help in finding the direction it needs to follow. Yes it took a mighty blow with the passing of Ian however FOM is the members them selv’s not any one member.

    Also agree with your views on most expat groups here in Davao being mostly self interest groups founded mainly with the aim of control & image building.

    FOM is different, being alive & well because most of the members want FOM to survive & grow.

    Regards Leon..

    • Bruce says:

      I hope you are right and I am wrong. But from the experience with FoM and the other groups, most want to attend and not lift a finger to help. Time will tell.

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