Thursday, June 22, 2006

Going Away parties and biking

Hey everyone. I wanted to do a quick update on my last few weeks and weekend activities. These last few days have really flown by when I look back; sometimes it’s nice to be busy.On Wednesday (June 7th), since we had a holiday off from school on Thursday, I decided to bike up and visit Sara. She is getting ready to leave in about a month, done with her Peace Corps service, and I want to get in as many visits with her as I can before she leaves. So, I biked up after school got out on Wednesday. That day at school was very busy. My year 12 students had one of their many Internal Computer Assessments. This one was on Word Processors, i.e. MSWord. It was a task given in class in which they had to type a given paragraph and change formatting and fonts and insert tables, things like that. I had an after school class that a few came to the day before so it was nice to see some of them do better than they might have done because I gave them more one on one attention. It is so hard with big classes to give them individual attention. So, after classes I needed a break and I biked the hour and 14 minute bike ride to Sara’s house. We hung out with a family in the village. They had family from American Samoa visiting so we sat and chatted in Samoan for awhile. It was a nice break. We didn’t do very much actually.

The next morning I biked back with Sara. On the way back we decided to stop in a village between ours because we had heard that there were computers donated there and we wanted to see what the situation was. We biked to the Women’s committee house and asked them if they knew about the new computers. They told us yes, they were at the pastor’s house and we could go talk to him after they fed us. I don’t know if I would have stopped in to chat with them without Sara. Her Samoan is so much better than mine; I would have felt intimidated. But, we ate and chatted with them for awhile and then headed off to see the setup that the faifeau (pastor) had. It was nice! They are all in a computer type room and they even have like a resource center set up. They have the projects and the desire; they just need help with the business skills and organization skills. This is where PC comes in. I think it would be a great setup for one of the new volunteers coming in. We will see. Plus, they would be close to me… After getting back to my house Sara and I had another relaxing afternoon, since there was no school for a National Holiday. She eventually had to bike back home again. But, Thursday nights are girls’ night with La La and Clair. They biked over and we made dinner, a nice stir fry with flour tortillas that La La showed me how to make, and watched a few episodes of The Sopranos. That is my new favorite show. We watch 2 episodes a week. Girls’ night makes Thursday nights something to look forward to.

Friday (June 16th now) we had no classes, but we had our Tausala which is a huge fund raiser for schools. It is where all the parents come and the students do dances and parents can go up and dance with their kids, teachers can too, and donate money. The night before Laupama made me a puletasi to wear to the Tausala. It is not what I would usually like, but it was a special event. Right before it started another PC volunteer, Derek showed up. It was a little strange to see another volunteer at our school while it was in session, but one of his brothers in the village is a teacher. He brought his brothers’ pig. (Teachers had to give either money or food to the event.) Derek is one of the guys I was planning on going hiking with later that day or the next. He stayed to watch the dancing with us. I got up twice to dance and the kids went nuts! They loved it! They were laughing. I am glad that I got up. Then Derek told me that there had been a death in his extended family in the village recently and he wouldn’t be able to make it that weekend. I was planning on still heading into Apia that day, but we kept missing busses and the last bus never showed up, so Derek stayed over with Bob and we all had dinner and watched a movie.

The next morning I headed out on the first bus at 7am to catch the 8am boat. I did not make it into Apia in time to still go hiking with the other volunteer, but I did make it in time for the going away party of a few volunteers. They are done with their 2 years and left this last Monday. People will be leaving often over these next 2 months since group 72 is done with their service and they don’t all leave at the same time. I will be heading in for a few more of these. So, a whole bunch of us got together and played ultimate Frisbee and had a BBQ on the water and just hung out and had fun. It went late, ending at a dance club in Apia.

Sunday afternoon I headed back to Savai'i. This week has gone by fast. On Tuesday Sara showed up at the school and wanted to use my computer to type up her college applications while I was in class. After school ended and she finished up I decided to bike back with her to her village that afternoon. It was a little wet during the ride because it has been raining non-stop here for a few days. Her school needed me to look at their computer because the monitor wasn’t working. I tried, but it is a little bit beyond my knowledge; time to call Marques for that one. :) We hung out with one of her friends in the village. The lady has 2 kids and the boy is about 6 years old. I was playing with him as he pulled me around in his make-shift car pretending that he was a bus driver. It was fun. We spoke only in Samoan. That is one reason I like visiting Sara, we usually end up speaking mostly in Samoan so I get a lot of practice, and some of the ladies are very helpful and patient with me.

I have a fun story a little off the subject, but not really. Everyone that knows me knows that I talk in my sleep. I don’t just mumble I speak full on sentences. When I woke up Wednesday morning at Sara’s house she told me that I talked in my sleep the night before. No surprise. However, she said that I was speaking in Samoan. :) That’s cool.

That next morning I had to be back before school started. I started to bike back early in the morning. It was still dark and it was raining heavily. I had a head lamp, but that wasn’t working because it was just lighting up the rain in front of my eyes, so I had to hold it out in front of me. It kept going out. It was a little scary. I was looking hard for mean dogs, but there weren’t any. After I had gone a ways I saw a bus driving towards me. It was still very dark so I couldn’t see anything, but right at it was passing me I thought that it looked like our school bus. So I stopped biking and pointed my light at the bus. It slowed down and stopped as I biked towards it. It was my school bus! A very wet me hopped into the bus as a student put my bike in the center isle. The bus was just starting its rounds of pickups so the students got a kick out of me when they got on the bus and saw me there soaking wet.

So, this weekend I am heading in yet again to Apia. I think it will be the last time for awhile. I want to go on the hike, but one of the 2 guys I was going to go with can’t come in this weekend and I haven’t gotten a hold of the other one. Oh well; I have a few weeks off from school coming soon, maybe we will go then. I have to head in for a few meetings and to see our PC medical officer. Hopefully I won’t feel too burnt out this weekend. I think the hike would be good. Let’s see. Until next time…


At 6:02 AM, Blogger Mike Sheppard said...


Here are some Peace Corps / Samoa blogs that I have found. If you know of any others that I have missed please let me know. Thanks!

-Mike Sheppard
RPCV / The Gambia



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