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.