Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Meetings and Doctors Appointments

Wednesday March 22 – I love how I can hear the roar of the ocean from my bed. Not individual waves, though sometimes if it is really quiet, but a continuous roar that I can always hear from my house. Sometimes, when the weather is really bad, it gets louder and wakes me up in the middle of the night. Sometimes when it’s really loud I dream of tsunamis in my sleep. I will miss the roar of the ocean when I head to Apia this week.

This morning I had to get up at 4am to make the 6am boat to Apia. I was really tired since Bob and I thought it would be fun to see how long we could stay awake the night before. I went to bed at 1am this morning. But, my real coffee has arrived thanks to dad and his generous packages, finally no more of the instant stuff that is available here. Though I am starting to know the difference between instants and which ones are better, I would rather have the real thing. So I got up and made a cup and Bob wanted me to wake him up too and give him a cup. I use my big green cup that would make dad proud because it’s probably like 2 ½ cups of coffee in the morning. My dad likes his coffee cups big too.

Around 5am, my pule showed up and drove me to the wharf in his flatbed truck. We discussed which classes my new counterpart, Meaalofa will be taking over. I imagine it must be hard on her taking over classes I have already started with a schedule I have already made. Some topics she might not know as well as others and wonder why I don’t teach ones I don’t know as well. I scheduled the tests and projects, I will let her have freedom, but I imagine it is hard coming in the middle of the term. It was hard enough coming and starting at the beginning of the year, even with all of the information Travis left behind for me. She will do great though, she is so nice and I really enjoy talking with her. Hopefully this week, she won’t be too overwhelmed with teaching all the classes while I am away at this meeting for Year 12. In the car ride with Amosa it was still really dark out. I had the window down and it was so warm. That is still a new concept for me, the west coast girl. I am still getting used to it being dark, windy and rainy outside and yet still warm…

When I arrived at the wharf it was still very dark and Lelega, the teacher I was going to travel with had not arrived. I bought my ticket and wandered into the waiting room until I could board the boat. Sala and Amos (2 more pisikoa) were waiting to board the same boat. Sala had work to do and Amos was heading in for the same meeting. The boat ride was nice because the sunrise was very pink and since the boat crosses the open ocean, it made the viewing area of the sunrise wide open. I was very tired though and didn’t watch as much of the sunrise as I wanted to. Mostly I ate banana bread Sala had made and chatted with Amos about the setup of his computer lab.

The bus into Apia was crowded as usual and I ended up having to sit on Amos’s lap the whole way. When the bus stopped at the Market in Apia, we had planned on sharing a taxi to the meeting with another teacher that Amos works with, but their cab was full. So we walked around in the now rainy weather for awhile trying to find an available taxi. The problem when that first bus arrives is that everyone is trying to take a taxi ride to wherever they are heading next as well, so taxis are scarce. We finally found one and headed to the meeting, arriving only a little late.

Other volunteers were there for computers as well. Marques and Sara were also there. This is the first year that they have the Samoa School Certificate Prescription for Computers. The School C test is set for almost all other subjects for Year 12. Since there has never been a prescription for Year 12 before, it was us teachers who were helping in writing the course layout. It had been tentatively written and we were editing it, putting in our own input and amending it. We discussed subjects and areas of focus for this year. It is a watered down version of what Year 13 learns. The object is to have Year 13 (seniors) as familiar with computers as we can get them before they start Year 13. We finished early, but we still had some technicalities to cover, so we stayed until the end of the day, around 3pm. I was a little stressed I will admit. I get stressed when I think about school. I feel overwhelmed. I started to feel like there were not enough hours in the day to teach the students everything we were covering, without after school things, and I just don’t have the energy for that. I will admit since I hadn’t slept properly in awhile and I was thinking about school, I was looking a little on the breaking side. So Marques said he would join me for pizza. The one thing I wanted to make sure I did while in Apia on this trip was get pizza.

First we had to stop at the bank because I was low on cash, and the bank ate my card and was closed for the day. I was already on a thin line, so I had a hard time, but Amos lent me money and we went for pizza. I wanted a pepperoni, artichoke and olive pizza, but I was with guys that would settle for no less than a meat and some more meat pizza. We had barbeque chicken. I convinced them to let me put onions on it too, for some sort of vegetable. As always, when I have food in me I feel better. When we walked back to the office Skye was there and I asked her if I could crash at her place since it was close to where our meetings were. I took a taxi out to her place and upon arriving at her house; I turned on the breaker and took a hot shower. It was everything I remember it to be. :) While I was waiting for her to arrive, I headed over to John and Bryan’s house. They live close by and were in my training group. They have a cat that was really fun to play with. We tried to get her to eat a centipede in their house, but she was scared of it. I don’t blame her, those things are supposed to be painful. Skye came home and I headed back over to her house for dinner. Even though I had eaten a good half of a pizza, I was still up for good cooked food. A few other pisikoa joined us and we had some great food, listened to Skye and Amos play the guitar, and passed out early.

Thursday March 23 – Amos came over early, since he stayed with the guys and we hailed a taxi to the last day of our meeting. We basically started the meeting and discussed how we were pretty much done. We did a few practices to get used to writing the big projects that Year 12 will be doing, and ended up ending early around noon.

Amos and I headed back to the PC office, and I had to head to the bank to get my whole card thing and pin number squared away. The end result was that I had to come back the next day to get my new pin number. I was heading back to Savai’i, on the 6am boat the next day, so I wouldn’t be able to pick it up. That was frustrating, but it was nice having some time to wander around Apia for awhile without a whole lot of agenda. I visited a few PC that work in the area and eventually wandered back to the PC office to chat with our PC doctor.

She looked at my face and wondered why the irritated itchy spots on my face hadn’t gone away yet. The medicine she had given me was supposed to get rid of bed bugs, chiggers, scabies, you name it and it should have killed it. And I had acne medicine in case all the other medicine made my face break out. So, she wanted me to see the doctor for my face and a few other problems I have been having. That meant I had to stay for Friday and not head back to school on the first boat in. I called the school to give Meaalofa the agenda and called my pule to let him know I would be at the doctors. Plus, now I could stay and get my bank card taken care of.

While I was getting ready to leave the office, I ran into 2 other PC volunteers who were on their way to the one theatre in town to see The Brother’s Grimm. Of course I was down for that. I had grown up with the Grimm Fairly tales books and knew all the stories. I liked the movie. The theater still has a little bit of a moldy smell from all the flooding earlier, but I got used to it fast. There is something about going to see the movies here. I almost forget for a little while where I am. Movies are like comforts in the PC; we all want them and watch them often as we can. After the movie I had a burger with John and Amos and then headed to a fundraiser for AIDS awareness that one of my friends in the PC was involved in. It was fun to go and buy raffle tickets, and not win, and hang out and chat. I headed to Holly’s house later that night. We went home late because she lives a ways away from town and we wanted to go in on a taxi with another volunteer, but he was finishing up playing poker. We waited until they were done, and then headed home together in the taxi.

Friday March 24 – I had to get up early and head to the office to go to my doctor appointment. The buses were late today and it took me a really long time to get into town. There is a spot into Apia where there is always traffic; near the Mormon temple. One thing I noticed is that the bus didn’t seem to be taking as many passengers as usual. On morning buses, they are so crowded chances are I end up sitting on someone’s lap most of the way. There is a hierarchy on buses. Only women and men get to sit in the front and get to have free laps, without someone sitting on them the whole way. The middle of the bus is for the women, and the back of the bus is for the sole’s or guys. When it gets crowded, people are all on laps, people are standing in the aisles, hanging out windows, sitting in the doorway… it’s fun. But, today it wasn’t like that. Right before we got to Apia, the bus was pulled over for inspections to make sure it wasn’t too full. If it was, the bus drivers would get a ticket. Now I understand. I don’t mind the crowded buses. I am used to them. At the school, if I ride the school bus to the wharf afterwards, it is really crowded because we drive all of our students’ home.

I actually ended up arriving to the office a little early, so I ended up chatting with John and agreed to meet him for lunch later. Not John from group 75, another PCV. So, the PCMO (PC medical officer) took me to the doctors. He wasn’t sure what was wrong with my face, but gave me some cream to help the itching. I don’t want it to scar. I will see a dermatologist next time I am out of country I think. He is a good doctor, but dermatology isn’t his focus. And I chatted with his wife, the other doctor there. I was having some other medical problems and we agreed to do a few tests, which meant I had to head to the hospital with the PCMO. I have to go back in a few weeks for blood work.

For lunch, John and I headed to a place called Mari’s Bakery. It is a nice little bakery, a tad expensive and very palagi, but I like it because they have Pepsi. I ordered enchiladas. Very nice. I miss Mexican food the most (get more excited for Mexico with you Mary more every day!), and I miss pizza often when I am on Savai’i. So, I had all my food cravings filled.

I finally made it back to the bank and got my card, a new pin and everything squared away. They were so helpful; I think they could tell I was frustrated. Then I finished errands and headed back to Holly’s early. I had one of my bed headaches that wasn’t going away, and so I needed to just chill for an evening. I think I passed out around 8pm. I was beat.

Saturday March 25 – I decided to head out on the 12pm boat. That morning one of the PC staff was being made a Matai, and there was a PC meeting for anyone that wanted to go later, but I find that there is always something I could stay for, and I really wanted to get home. On the boat I saw one of my teachers getting back from Fiji and sat with him and chatted. Meaalofa was on the bus when I got to the Savai’i side and we chatted about school and classes these last few days on the bus ride back. I invited her to dinner on Monday night when a few PCV’s would be out visiting me spending the night.

When I got back to the compound Bob wasn’t there so I wandered over to one of the faletua houses and chatted with her for awhile. We talked a long time. I find that it is encouraging to be surrounded by such amazing Christian women. Their culture allows them to express themselves and worship differently than what I am used to in the states, but they are amazing women of faith. They still worship and love the Lord, they just express it differently. Not good or bad, different. It has taken me some time to get used to it and to see it, but whenever I talk to them about struggles they are always so encouraging. I can learn a lot from them.

I think now, after talking to the faletua and Meaalofa, I am not as stressed as I was feeling. Meaalofa is a great teacher and is doing well with the classes she took over. I have more free time to focus on the other classes. We help each other out in class too. We both sit in while the other is teaching, in case there are a lot of questions, or if I need to say something I can’t quite manage fa’asamoa (in Samoan). It’s nice because then students get a little more individual attention. So, less stressed, and liking my counterpart a lot. I am looking forward to Monday night with her and some of my PC friends. We are going to make dinner and watch a movie on my computer. So, it will be nice introducing Meaalofa to my friends and getting to know her a little better as well.

Until next time… Sorry it’s so long. What does anyone think about the journal type blog entries? I want input, old way, new way, both?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Another Day at the waterfall

Us hiking out of the waterfalls

Manabu, Maka, Bob and La La at the falls

The side some people jump from.

The falls, with a few of the guys sitting at the base.

Looking at the falls down the river.

St Paddys Day

Josh, Manabu, Koichi and Maka on St Paddys Day (Manabu and Koichi are Jica).

Koichi in Green down to his toes

A chill evening on St Paddy's Day

A gorgeous sunset looking behind our house

Bob and Josh on our way back from Josh's place, chatting with one of Josh's students.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Weekend of the 19th

This is a journal like entry so people can see what I experience on a day to day basis. Hope you like it.

Friday, March 17th: Today was a good day at school. We had shortened periods; they are usually 45 minutes each and were only a half hour today, because field day (Friday game day) was at our school. It was hot today during field day. I walked around and took a few pictures. Our netball teams all won and our rugby team tied with Marist Center (where La La and Josh teach). I think that netball is a little boring to watch. There is no backboard though and so making baskets is a little harder to do, although they can’t guard you closely. I walked around after awhile looking for ice cakes. They are this frozen fruit drink they make that tastes pretty good, but I waited too long; it was so hot everyone else had bought them all out by then. So I sat down in the shade of the big trees near the water in the dirt with one of my Yr12 students and chatted with her for awhile. She asked me if I like wearing a puletasi everyday. I am getting used to them, and how many were in my family and what I did back in the states. She is a pretty smart student and wants to be a lawyer when she is done with school. She lives on the compound with another family.

During the games our school all sat together under the shade of the Tech school building and cheered and chanted. I am starting to get to know a few of our school songs. It’s fun singing along to “If you’re happy and you know it,” in Samoan.

Meaalofa, my new counterpart, started today. I was thinking it would take a little longer for them to get her, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw her. I was walking to the staff room and got there a little early like usual to put my stuff inside my lab. I looked towards the secretaries’ office when I rounded the corner and there was Meaalofa standing talking to another teacher, she used to go to school here. She accompanied me in each class to get used to the teaching and to observe which classes I had and what we were going over. This first year she is going to take over my Year 10 and Tech1 classes. I find that now that I finally have a counterpart—the one thing I have wanted for awhile—I am having problems giving up the reins. Funny how that works. She is really nice. She is going to come over to my house on Sunday after the big to’ona’i meal and go over some of the papers I use that Travis left me. That should be fun; I hope I really get to know her.

After the games, Josh was over visiting so I headed over to Bob’s house and drank some ‘ava with them. So we drank ‘ava until we had very full bellies from all the water and then we biked over to Josh’s house. We wanted to beat sa, which started soon. It hurt biking on a full stomach. Then we hung out at Josh’s house for awhile. La La came over, Koichi and Manabu (Jica) showed up, and Lafi and Maka showed up (other PCV’s that were visiting). Koichi showed up all in green, even down to his shoes. I wore an all green tee-shirt with snoopy on it that I got from Cecilia. (PC shares a lot of stuff). It wasn’t a big St Paddy’s Day, but enough to make it special.

Saturday, March 18th: I woke up pretty late this morning, like 9am. It was nice since I am having problems sleeping lately. I got up and biked back to La La and Josh’s since Lafi and Maka were spending the day with us there. La La and I had planned to hike the Tafua Crater. It is a short and easy hike in a rainforest protected area on Savai'i. It is an old crater; very beautiful. You are supposed to be able to see a lot of near extinct birds that live only there out of the entire world, like the tooth-billed pigeon. But, no one else seemed to want to go on the hike; it was a pretty hot day again. So we all ended up doing the short bike ride to the nearby waterfall. It’s the one I take all friends to that visit. It is supposedly the nicest waterfall in all Samoa. There is a lake at the bottom of it fed by a fresh water spring, so it is always clear. There are little shrimp in it and a few fish. It is so cool and worth it to visit. At first, when we got there, a ton of students were hanging out. La La and I sort of chilled treading water in the middle of the lake talking. I jumped off the side a few times. After they left, it was fun to chat with the other volunteers for awhile. We don’t get to see each other often if we don’t live close to each other. Manabu showed up again, so there ended up being a good amount of us: Bob, La La, Josh, me, Lafi, Maka and Manabu. It was fun. This artist couple showed up who lives on Upolu so we ended up talking with them for awhile. Bob was really into chatting with them…he was an art major.

Then Lafi, because he works on coral restoration here, wanted to see the beach near Bob and my house. So Bob headed home to eat and I headed to the beach (and the fun trail ride) with Maka and Lafi. Maka and I collected shells while Lafi swam around and looked at the coral. I got some great shells. We explored a little and there are some caves nearby as well. It started to look like rain, so the guys headed over to Bob’s place for the night, since we were on bikes. Bob cooked pasta and I made a special treat of brownies and fresh squeezed lemonade from our lemon tree for our friends. After dinner we watched Zatoichi, one of the only movies I have on my computer. It is a Japanese Samurai movie. It is really good.

Sunday, March 19th: Man that was a long church service today. For some reason I was sad today at church; I missed my mom. Aufata preached today. It was nice he said some of it in English so I could follow along.

Meaalofa is supposed to come over later today after the to’ona’i meal to go over papers. I have a sore throat today. I think it’s because I haven’t been sleeping well again. I think today will be a day of malolo (rest). On Wednesday I have to head into Apia for a meeting for Year12 computer teachers. I am not looking forward to it. I will be heading over on the 6am boat that morning. Meaalofa will teach my classes while I am gone. I have to be back for classes on Friday because I am reviewing with a few Year 13 students second period. They have a massive test coming up next week. So, since the meeting ends late Thursday, I will have to take the first boat back on Friday at 6am. Long week.

I think for Easter I am going to hang out with Claire. We can hard boil some eggs and color them with crayons and hide them around her place. I recently received some Easter candy from my parents (THANK YOU) and so maybe I can try and save it for Easter. I know the holiday is huge here too, so we will see what happens. I just know Claire doesn’t have any set plans either yet, so we have combined our day. I was thinking of trying to sew a stuffed animal for her or something simple; some small gift to remember Easter here. She leaves the end of this year.

Until next time…

Field Day pictures

Some of the pules of the schools judging

My school chearing on the sidelines

Dannivar, one of my Yr13 students. They won the volleyball tournament

The Year11 Rugby team.

What netball "guarding" looks like. :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Career Day and Wesley Dinner

This is of a few of the PCV involved with the Career Day. Nice work Skye and Pete

A few of the Faletua's (pastors wives) serving the meal at an 'ava ceremony. The girl in the red puletasi is Mealofa (my possible counterpart)

My students are the ones on the right at the table. This was their favorite business there, one of the banks

Me and a few of the girls in Yr13

Pu'asa and the faife'au eating. Mealofa again.

Career Day and Counterparts

This last week has been interesting. It started out last week with a normal working week as usual. I have a heavy class load, but it’s not too bad. I sometimes have trouble in my Year 11 class because there are so many students. I have 42 students in there and 15 computers (they are finally all up and working well…). On Wednesdays I have a class every period. It makes the day go by nice and fast, but I had my Yr11 class and they were just too much. I like them, but because there are so many students in the classroom itself, I cannot watch all of them. I felt like I was babysitting and that a few students in the class were there just to hang out and tease their friends. It isn’t fair to those who want to learn and who were on the computers and needed help, for me to watch those that had nothing to do. So I walked out of the class and told my pule I needed the class to be split up so I could start to manage it.

Starting this week my class is split in 2. I now work every single period of everyday, a very busy schedule, but at least now in my Yr11 classes, the students can get help that need it and those that are acting up I can control. I started to feel a little overwhelmed over the weekend when I thought about how many classes I had and how burnt out I would get. The question of a counterpart is still there and I was starting to feel the need for one more so than usual. I wasn’t sure when or if I would be getting one. It is hard to get teachers to move out to Savai'i, and all of us teachers are already fairly busy. It is a growing school. Then one night I had a question for my pule and while I was waiting he told me that they had possibly found a counterpart for me! I was so excited I wondered who it was. He said there was a young woman that lived in the village that had attended Uesiliana and had just finished Polytech. I started to wonder if it was the one woman in the village I am getting to know as a friend who is also close to my age, Mealofa. I asked Amosa if it was her and he said, “Yes. You know her?” This is great. If I could have chosen anyone I knew around the area to help me teach and start training it would be her. Now I just have to encourage her to put in her applications and maybe put a few good words in myself for her. So, that turned out really great. Now I am just waiting to see if she gets it. Although I think she will, since we don’t have anyone else vying for the job. She’s great. I am excited to get to know her better. Although, I am not sure when she would actually start, maybe not until next year… but at least I know there is probably someone coming to be my counterpart. Someone I can train and pass off information to.

This last Friday was the Career Fair that Avanoa Tutusa hosts (an NGO run mainly by PCV, although they want to pass it off to Samoans as well, helping the sustainability factor here). There are usually 2 career fairs a year, one on ‘Upolu and one here on Savai'i. I think it’s a great idea because if the students don’t go on to college than at least they have an idea of the kind of jobs that are available to them here, and not overseas. We had the banks come, the police department, a few more government areas, the Red Cross, Nutritional Centers, and The Department of Recreation: Sports and Leisure… companies like that. There were so many students there, which was great because it was the same day as a big Field Day, Rugby Bowl. A lot of schools were participating in the Field Day and rugby is huge here, so it was nice to see a big turnout still. One of the teams at my school won the bowl in their age group. They were pretty excited. Our sister school spend the night here the night before and it was a big dinner, Ava ceremony night. It was really fun to sit and chat with the women of my compound. They eat so much and I was trying to keep my food intake down, they kept saying I had no stomach, or that they wanted to sit next to me because there would be food left. It was fun teasing. Okay, so after the Career fair, the students kept asking me when I would teach them Excel. They were so excited for a few of the jobs. I assured I would teach them everything they needed to know. :) It was fun getting to know those students a lot better, too.

After the Career Day, a few of the volunteers headed out to my house for dinner and the night. La La, Skye, Sarah, and Bob had dinner at my place. We had the huge tin of eggs that dad sent me (THANKS dad!) and we made quiche. It was great, something different. And someone had brought freeze-dried shitake mushrooms from the states which we added, it was so good. Skye brought some beading stuff and we made a few necklaces, it was so girly. I liked it. It is so refreshing to do something out of the ordinary here. And La La brought over her DVD’s of the show Arrested Development and we watched one whole DVD. That is a funny show! Bob headed back to his place and we stayed up a little longer talking about the weekend and plans for the next few months. I had to get an extra mattress, but it was nice having everyone spend the night. I think it’s good for other PCV’s to see where each other lives. It’s good to see how each of us lives, since it is so different from village to village…even from house to house within the same village.

The next morning we all got up and were headed out around 6am. Sarah and I headed up to her village while La La and Skye headed to Manase for the day. Manase is one of the nicest resort towns on Savai'i. I didn’t want to head to Manase because if I go I want to make a weekend of it, and they could only stay for the day. And since, I had not chatted with Sarah in awhile I wanted some chatting time. I also really like her village. She has a great group of ladies she knows and hangs out with at the women’s committee. I like going to visit her and practicing my Samoan. Most of them speak English really well, but they love it when we practice and make an effort to learn their language. Sarah (Sala) is probably speaks the best Samoan out of all the PCV’s here right now. She is a lot of fun, we have a blast hanging out or just resting. I headed up there for the day. I went to church with her, she went to the Seventh Day Adventist church that day and I decided to accompany her. Because she stays next to the woman’s committee, she goes to all of their churches to get to know the woman better. Afterwards we drank cool aide and rested awhile. I debated staying the night, but I wanted to make it back to my village so I could go to church on Sunday. I really wanted to talk to Mealofa. So, I biked back that evening. It is about an hour and a half bike ride. The ride I make to the wharf to email and use the phone from my house usually takes about 45 minutes, so it is a decent ride to Sarah’s. I want to start doing it more often. It is so great to have bikes while here, they are the best mode of transportation. The buses can be crowded and fun, but tend to run on the schedule with the boats, so if you want to go somewhere when the boats aren’t running, it makes it harder to find a bus. That is why the bikes are so great. Plus, it’s a nice way to see parts of the island well. I just have remember to stop, get off the bike and actually take a picture instead of saying I will next time.

So, I will try and remember to keep everyone updated on possibly getting a counterpart, and how classes go this week, being such a full schedule and all. I am probably going to stay on the island again these next few weekends. I need to save money, and Apia sucks it out of you. Plus, Holly might make it out to visit. I might go with her to visit other PCV’s living around the island. We will see how I feel after this busy week.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Silao's Party and Sunrise Views

This is a sunrise at 6am outside my house

Pete's plate at Silao's Party. Teuila in the background...

Another gorgeous view one morning

Me and Rosa at Silao's Party

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Silao's Party and Weekend

This weekend we had a going away party for one of the PC staff members, Silao. He was our head trainer. He was a great trainer. He helped me threw a few of my harder moments. He is retiring. It was a potluck and we each had to bring a meal to the party. Since I live on the other island anything I made at home wouldn’t have kept. I met up with Cecilia and Holly and I helped Cecilia cook and prepare a few dishes. Stuffed green peppers, things like that. It was fun. We all contributed a little bit of money and bought him a set of nice new golf clubs, even a few Returned Peace Corps Volunteers from Samoa contributed their support. He likes to golf and was even going the next day. We had a karaoke machine and he sang a couple songs. Every group got up to say something nice about him and what we would miss. There was a ton of food. It was overall a good time.

The whole weekend was fun. Bob and I came in on Thursday, barely missing the 2pm boat. The way the boats ride there is a 2 and a 4 from Savai’i, but there are no boats waiting when the 4pm arrives on the other side. So, if we missed the 2, we would be okay. Well, school ended at 1pm. We missed the last bus going out and our school bus wouldn’t get us there in time. A few other teachers called a taxi for us, but it wouldn’t show up in time. We convinced one of our teachers who was heading into Salelologa to shop to take us there. We had so little time; no one thought we would make it. But that teacher hauled man. We showed up with 2 or 3 minutes until it was supposed to leave. And we made it. Bob headed into Apia for the night and I was tired and headed to Holly’s house.

Friday I had to head into Apia for all the errands I had to run for the weekend. I had to buy a few things for my computer for the school, get some food I can’t buy on my island, and eat at a restaurant! I even went and saw Walk the Line in the one theater in Samoa. It was great. I felt so spoiled. I went out to a Chinese restaurant and hung out with a few volunteers the rest of the evening.

The next day I headed into town again to help Cecilia buy all the rest of the food needed for the party that night. After cooking we got all dolled up for the evening. I borrowed a dress that was Cecilia’s, I put on makeup, and I wore my hair down. :) It was fun to do a few things I can’t always do at my place.

School is going well. My students took a practice test today. Most of them have a big test next week and I want to see where they need help, what they are picking up on. I like aspects of teaching. Some days I really just don’t want to write my lesson plans, but I love the kids. They are always keeping me on my toes. I am still struggling with teaching in Samoan in a few of my classes, but I am practicing and it will come with time.

So, not much to report. The weekend was fun, but busy. Next weekend is Career Day on Savai'i. The PC NGO Avanoa Tutusa puts it on. I wanted to be involved in it, until I learned they meet on weekdays so it just isn’t possible. But I will be there this weekend with my students. I am looking forward to it. I want my students to see that they can do more than just be a secretary with all the computer skills they will have. The only problem is that the same weekend is our schools final games in a rugby tournament. Most of the island will be involved with that and it’s during the day on Friday. So, few students will actually get to go to the Career Day. They love rugby here. I am starting to learn a little bit about it. Not bad. We have a pretty good team here and they practice hard. They get up at 5:30am every morning and practice as well as everyday after school. And some of the students live a ways away.

Until next time when things are a little more exciting.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Weekend at home

A nice view from our house across the field

To'ona'i (Sunday meal) with the whole compound this last Sunday

Some of my students serving To'ona'i to all the pastor's, their wives and Bob and I.

This is one of my favorite pictures of Bob. It's taken on the water right in front of our compund.

Me in a tree that fell in front of the compound. It's a nice place to sit in the evening.

Blowhole, Taga and Biking

Bob and I after biking in the rain and mud on the trail to the beach.

Sarah and I enjoying a Dip-N-Stik in her house. Yeah! Candy! It was a special treat. I have her hooked on candy now too.

The beach at Taga.

Me and the amazing Blow Holes in Taga. It is powerful

Bob and I from the backside. Muddy and loving it after that bike ride.