Monday, December 10, 2007

Since we’ve been gone

It’s been a while since I caught you up with what has been going on during PST. I thought I would give you a run down.

November 16 we left the village and came to Apia for the All-Volunteer Conference. Once a year all the volunteers in country get together for an update on the state of Peace Corps worldwide and in Sāmoa. We also got updates on Safety & Security and Medical issues (Peace Corps Samoa reported no new cases of STIs among volunteers in 2006, totally kicking to butt of some other South Pacifc island that shall remained nameless).

The following day was Saturday and our Thanksgiving celebration hosted by the charge d’affairs at the former US Embassy in Sāmoa. I left from the dinner for my Volunteer Visit with my host Moli. Cale left on his visit with Tim to Savai’i the next morning.

For the Volunteer Visit we were sent out to live for three days with another volunteer who has been in the country for at least a year. The goal being that we can see what volunteer life is like.

Moli shares a house with another PCV, Beth. Both Moli and Beth teach at the National University and live close to campus. Another PCV, SIta, was staying with Moli and Beth for a couple of days as well.

School wasn’t in session at NUS (National University Sāmoa), but Moli had signed up for a weeklong workshop on Pacific film. I went with her to that on Monday. I left early Tuesday morning to make my boil appointment with our medical officer.

We were in town for three and a half days and then headed back to the village on Saturday afternoon.

Wednesday in the village was our culture day, which I will discuss in more detail in another post. However, short summary: Pigs, chickens and fish were killed and cooked. Coconuts were husked and scraped. Baskets were weaved. Koko esi (papaya and cocoa Sāmoa soup) was made. Matai were served and fanned while they ate.

Thursday was the village school prizegiving. More to come on that as well.

Saturday was our third LTA (Language and Technical Assesment). It was a group teaching assignment. Ryan, Eli and I taught the year seven and eight students for 30 minutes. Tuesday was our fourth LTA. That was solo teaching for 20 minutes. I will probably do a blog post explaining the LTAs in more detail some day.

Monday we had our 90-Day work plans. The idea behind that being that we meet with our counterparts from our sites and discuss what we will do for the first 90 days in the village. The day didn’t start out so hot when a rockslide closed down the quick route to town and we drove the long, windy, bumpy route that made us almost two hours late and extremely carsick. The secretary to the principal of my school came to the event. We worked on the plan, but it was really just a vague outline since most of the secretary’s suggestions were that I talk to the principal, who could not be there because of a funeral.

Thursday was our Language Proficiency Interview in Apia. That is the big test that determines how well we have learned Sāmoan so far. I failed. I am being given a chance to retake it on Tuesday. If I fail again I will put in 40 more hours of language classes over the course of two weeks in January.

Friday was our last night in the village and our Farewell FiaFia. I will have a entire entry just on that to come soon.

Saturday morning we headed back to Apia. Wednesday we will be sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers.

— Sara

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