Yes … just 2 weeks. I cannot believe it myself. It feels like I have been here FOREVER – but that is not meant to be taken in a bad way. I just feel naturally at home here so it doesn’t feel like I had to get used to it, just fits! Not to say that there have not been some less than perfect moments (ehem … diarrhea … ehem), but overall each day is new and exciting and something different happens that makes me smile or someone says something that makes me laugh. I think I will make a list because those are easier to read I think. But first a quick recap … (disclaimer: I am writing this on my laptop in my room without internet so I cannot be sure of what I have written already in previous emails or blog posts). I’ve been in my host family’s house for 10 days. They are still very hospitable and I am still not allowed to help with anything! Can’t clear the dishes, can’t help cook, can’t do my own laundry. I just have to relax – vakacequ! Relax! We have classes in the vale ni koro (literally “house of the village” but it is their community hall). These are just our language classes (vosa vakaviti – Fijian class) and our afternoons are for TDAs or “trainee designated assignments” which are to help us understand how to do non formal education in the villages, how to do some of the more environmentally specific projects (like composting toilets!! I know my stepdad would love to help out with those when he comes to visit!). Monday and Wednesdays are for all volunteers to come together in Nausori and have group training. This weekend we are going to do some site visits – not OUR sites, but the sites of current volunteers. We are going to stay with them for a few days to see what things are like for real volunteers, not just mere trainees (my – current title).
· When I hear the iron clanging sound, I know someone is grinding up some yaqona and people are going to be drinking Kava/grog in the village very soon.
· When I DON’T hear the iron clanging sound, I know people are STILL drinking grog somewhere in the village right now!
· The loud chirping sound I hear at night comes from the bajillion geckos in the house at any given time after sunset. They really disappointed me at first by not offering me huge savings for switching my car insurance, BUT I did see one on my wall a couple nights ago eating a giant bug, so they were completely forgiven and are henceforth considered heroes in my book.
· Bucket showers are interesting. They are cold and I never feel like I get all the shampoo out of my hair. I am quite happy to have short hair now even though I would love to be able to put it in a ponytail, I can’t put a price on not having a giant head of hair to have to clean by pouring cups of freezing cold water on it. And NO, just because it’s really hot outside does not make them feel better. Although, after the 6th or 7th bin on my head I get used to the temperature.
· It rained a lot today and was kinda chilly. It is funny to see how the villagers are when there is a breeze with a slight chill in the air. Jason called me today (I love you J!) and he looked up the temperature near me and told me it was 79F here. And yet people were wearing scarves! Yes, you heard right – scarves. And fleece jackets.
· I went to the beach on Saturday and we had our water safety training. They took us off the beach on a small boat about 300 yards from shore and dumped us and said “swim back.” Safety training over. Then we had a picnic lunch under the trees and played a game of volleyball at the school nearby. Not only was the beach probably 70 yards away or so, maybe 25-35 feet away from where we were played were 2 giant bulls. No fences. And I was in a skirt. Quite different from my volleyball experiences in Raleigh at JC Park or the office where Stephen works. We played a game here in the village as well and guys – these girls that played are good!! They would certainly give you a run for your money Eric. ;)
Anyway, this seems to be enough rambling for now. I am going to try and upload some photos if I can, but I don’t know how fast the internet will be when I go to town tomorrow. But I have uploaded some of my computer and will take them on the flash drive with me. Maybe next time I can have a video prepared of me walking through the village and showing you my home for the next couple months.
Moce Mada!! (goodbye!)