Life in the South Pacific

Stop in and read all about my Peace Corps journey in Samoa! Don't forget to send me letters and emails!! Packages are always welcome too! :)

Monday, October 23, 2006

It's A Girl!

So my sister in law finally popped! She had a baby girl on the morning of October 20. And guess what they named her...Stephanie! I was quite honored and amused as well. It's hilarious listening to my little nephew try and pronounce the name. But finally, a girl in the family! I'm disappointed I missed the whole delivery. I heard crying and yelling at 4:30 am and just thought it was my family being crazy and the babies crying. So when I woke up at 6:30 am and my little nephew, Evile, kept saying "pepe" I didn't think much of it until my mom came and told me that the baby came and she just finished delivering at 6 am, in the little fale right behind my house. My house is going to continue to be just crazy.

So on October 11 we welcomed Group 77 to Samoa. Insane that a new group is already here. Seems just like yesterday we were the ones being welcomed at the airport. This time it was our turn to be the greeters. Group 77 is mostly IT people and there are 12 guys and 4 gals. This will be the first group that we will leave, instead of people leaving us.

On that Saturday we had their fiafia and it was tons of fun. We got to perform our siva teine that we performed in Vaie'e once again, with a couple of volunteers from other groups joining us. And Jordan, Jame and I made fettucine alfredo with pe'epe'e cream (coconut cream) and it was delicious. Much more dancing at their fiafia than ours, mostly because the sound system was working this time. Most of the volunteers were in so got to catch up with a lot of my girls.

I also spent a nite in Vaie'e to visit my training family during the week I was in Apia. It was nice to see them, but a bit weird because it feels like I don't have much to talk to them about. I can't believe it's been 2 months since the 15 of us were running around crazy in the village.

Last week Year 8 was in exams and for some reason, the rest of the kids didn't have school. I came up to school everyday to hangout and let the kids play some kids on the laptop. They're getting to know how to use it pretty well and loving it. I am excited to try and teach them how to use the computer. I am hoping to start a library here in the lab as well and get the kids reading a bit more too.

Okay, time to go. The kids are starting to swarm me!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Church Church and More Church

It has been a busy past few weeks in the village. I’m not even real sure what I’ve been doing, but I do know that it’s mostly all been church related. From a youth choir competition to a fa’alavelave (a funeral in this case) a church opening and now with White Sunday upon us (a day for the kids, where the kids put on plays, sing songs, dance), there has been so much to do. All of these activities have helped me to settle into my village more comfortably and get to know people in the village. The days go by pretty quickly, though most days I wake up and have no idea what I’m going to do, somehow it passes pretty quickly.

My village, surprisingly, speaks very good English, which has helped, but does not help my Samoan at all. I have found some cool girls to hangout with in the village. My family is great, my brothers do just about everything for me. My sister in law is about to pop any day. My 3 little nephews drive me crazy sometimes, but they are the most adorable things. The other day my 5 year old nephew even locked me in the shower (since it can be locked from both the inside and outside). He was fooling around while I went in to take my bucket shower and when I’d finished I couldn’t get out. I found it pretty amusing and my family thought I was crying because I was scared, but I really was just laughing. My family is very protective. Actually, the entire village is very protective about me and worries about me if I spend too much time in the sun or if I’m not feeling well. It is difficult having so many people worry about me all the time, they always want to make sure that I don’t hurt myself or strain myself too much.

I have felt somewhat productive in the village, helping out at the school on occasion. The other day I gave my first computer lesson to Year 7 and Year 8 kids. Pretty much I just introduced them to the laptop and let them play Hangman. They loved it. And it was good for them just to play around on the computer. Watching them enjoy something like a laptop, where we all take it for granted, made me so feel real fortunate, but at the same time, it really made my day watching these kids have such a good time. I’ve also been working on getting the new Fale Komiti built for the Women’s Komiti and the drawings from the architect came out really great and the Komiti loved it. Now to just get the carpenter here and make a list of supplies so that we can get a quote on the prices. Feels good just to do a little something here and there. I participate in as much as I can with the church cuz I know that they love when I do and it does help me to feel more like a part of the village.

I also went to visit John in his village one day. I was surprised that I was allowed to spend the nite, but I guess since his mom is the principal at my primary school she worked things out. It was great to see him and get to see what his village was like. Very different from mine and being a guy in the village is just a lot different from being a girl. We walked up a mountain in the morning, it was exhausting. It was so steep, but the views at the top were amazing.

Hard to believe that a new group is coming on October 11. And I can’t believe I’ve been here for only 4 months. I feel like I’ve been in Samoa for much longer. I am enjoying myself in the village. It is definitely a rollercoaster of emotions and there are moments when I just wish I could be home, but it passes and things get better.
And now I am apparently performing for White Sunday as well. My intention was to go and watch some of the practices the kids were having, since its right next door to my house. But somehow whenever I try and just watch, I get dragged into participate. So now I am singing and dancing with the kids as well as the pastor’s wife (faletua) in the play we are doing. Mostly I just stand there and let the pastor (faife’au) do all the talking and he helped me learn one line to say. It’s actually pretty fun and be part of a White Sunday. I probably will really just watch next year, if they let me!

I love living on this tiny island, away from everything, in a lifestyle completely different from everywhere else. It’s so peaceful and relaxing, no hustle and bustle. I love that there are no cars and no dogs. I love the sand paths and I feeling isolated enough but also knowing that I can get to Apia within 2 hours if I needed.

Church has become my life. I actually look forward to some event for the church because it means that the village will be busy preparing for something and I will have something to do. Though it has been about 4 straight weeks of church stuff and it has been pretty exhausting.

Oh yes, and if you all would like to look at some pictures, check out Marques’ website at www.mjpeacecorps.blogspot.com. He’s got a lot of good pictures up and there’s even a folder he created for us Group 76ers. That’s all for now folks, I’m headed up to school in a little bit. Till next time!