Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Trainings vs Tsunamis

So, it’s March already!! Who knew? I’ll try to do a quick recap of this month’s events before doing a special report on Tsunamis – not the delicious sushi restaurant in Charleston. After getting so much love and worry after the recent warnings from the earthquake in Chile, I thought I would just make a special mention of them here.

1st – trainings. February was home to 2 different trainings I attended. The first was a coral identification training which was really informative and pretty cool. There were 2 top notch coral identification specialists on hand to help us learn how to distinguish different coral genera. AND we got a cool underwater coral ID book to use … free! Peace Corps is like college – we get REALLY excited about free food and free stuff. Actually, I wonder if that ever stops being exciting. The second training was run by Peace Corps on Alternative Livelihoods – basically, small business training. Twelve volunteers brought their counterparts to learn about business and financial planning. I hope my counterpart learned a lot and is ready to whip our small bakery into a viable village business. I enjoyed the time with fellow PCVs at both of these trainings and, as always happens when spending time in Suva, I ate way too much food and spent way too much money. What can you do?

2nd – Jason’s visit. As many of you may know, one of my bestest of best friends came to visit me this past month as well – we had an excellent time, but I will write no details as we should be expecting a guest blog post from him about his trip in the near future. Pictures and videos have been posted on facebook – will try to put a few on here later.

Now – TSUNAMIS. Most of you know that tsunamis are the result of earthquakes displacing a large body of water and creating a wave. These waves can travel as fast as 500 mph and are not technically tidal waves as everyone calls them. You could be on a boat in deep water at sea and one would travel right underneath you without you even registering it. Once the wave starts to hit shallow water, the trough of the wave hits the ground and that is when it gets super-sized. In terms of ME and tsunamis – as soon as Peace Corps receives warning about a possible threat, they call all volunteers in the countries at risk. I received a phone call at 130am on the day of the Chilean earthquake. I was told to evacuate to high ground starting at 8am the following morning as the tsunami was predicted to hit Fiji at 930-10am. That is big buffer. Oh – and I have to stay at high ground until noon just to be safe. When I woke up the morning of the supposed tsunami arrival, I packed everything in the house that was important to me – all the snacks and goodies Jason brought. Just kidding. I brought my hard drives, journals, laptop, and passports/cash. And a couple changes of underwear just in case. And of course a book, because come on – 4 hours!!! I did have a beautiful view from my high ground location – the top of a nearby hill where many others congregated as well. Everyone was fine and the tsunami never showed its scary face. No harm done! Of course that doesn’t mean I don’t love when people worry and fret over me, so the next warning all are still welcome to write notes and call to check in on me – makes me feel loved. I was most worried that if a tsunami did hit that Simba would get hurt. I have no cage for him to bring him to high ground and if I tried to carry him and hold him, he would squirm and run off, getting lost in the bush and potentially eaten by wild pigs or hit by a car on the nearby road. So I had to leave him behind and trust that his animal instincts would take him to high ground should a tsunami come our way.

That’s all for now on the Fiji front. Thanks for tuning in. Until next time, when we hear from Jason!