I'm back in Apia after being in our "training village" for three weeks. There is no internet access there so while back in Apia I'm trying to catch up. We got our assignments this week for the villages we will be living in for the next two years when we finish our training. I will be living in Poutasi. It is a small village of about 400 people on the south side of the
I’ll be going to the village for a visit later this week and will know a lot more about it then. I will take some photos and hopefully put them on my web page before I go back to Manunu next Sunday for two more weeks. I do know that I will living in a house of my own right on the beach. Sweet! The village wants gardening, fishing, and tourism projects. I don’t know anything about fish, but I could learn enough to help perhaps. And there are other volunteers who do have marine science background. Oh, and they want a new school building! The main thing I could do on that would be to help them apply for a grant to get some funding. In two years as volunteers we can only do so much, so I’ll see what happens. Sometimes they say they want something and it turns out that there’s something else that gets accomplished instead that they didn‘t identify. Our first few months in the village our job is to integrate and learn to know the village and the people, and then identify projects we might be able to do.
I’m having a great experience so far! I think those first few days in my new village will be somewhat of an adjustment. The sixteen of us have been together as a group for training since June 4th, so we’ve bonded and gotten to know each other well. And we’ll definitely be needing to use our language skills! Learning the language is going pretty well. I’m doing better than many in the group. Probably partly because it is very similar to the Hawaiian language and also because I’m trying very hard and am committed to being as fluent as possible.
It seems like everything in my life so far has been training me for this -- growing up on a farm (with limited amenities at times) and gardening all my life, my religious background, loving and living in rural Hawaii (with limited amenities at times), my managerial experience, my teaching experience, working with the group tours and native plant projects at Volcano Art Center, and my community volunteer experiences. I love to discover and learn new things and there's plenty of that! I am blessed to be able to do this and doubly blessed to be in Samoa.