Saturday, August 27, 2011

Your Blog Guide

With less than four months in Samoa left, I wanted to focus some of my ideas for the remainder of our time together. I’ve come up with a list of blog topics that will be posted from September through December when my Peace Coprs service ends. There will also be other blogs posted that aren’t on the list, however these are ones that you should be able to count on. Read on and get excited about upcoming blogs!
*All blog topics subject to change without notice.


• Date Line switch—Samoa will be changing sides of the International Date Line in December. We’ll look at what this means for Samoans.
• Interview with kids—Asking Samoan kids about their life, daily routine and dreams for the future.
• Bananas—Exploring the many types of bananas that grow in Samoa.
• Wear and Tear—Talking about the effects the weather and natural surroundings have on personal possessions during Peace Corps service.
• Relay Race 2011—My second year for running the relay race. A highlight of the day and what went into making it all work for our team.


• Samoan superstitions—I’m working on having a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer do a guest blog for this posting, looking at the many superstitions here in Samoa.
• 2 year Anniversary—Last year I sat down for an interview with myself to reflect on the first year. Look for the same format as we highlight the past TWO years on October 7, 2011.
• Picture Essay—Following a student from sun up to sun down to see what their day looks like in pictures.
• White Sunday weekend—There’s one place you don’t want to be on the Saturday of White Sunday weekend, but I’m going to attempt to go there and give you the vivid details!
• Group 82 profiles—There are 14 other volunteers who have made this journey with me here in Samoa. We will look at their names, hobbies, and things they loved about Samoa before we part ways.


• Year 8 National Exam Week—Samoan students hear about this exam throughout all their early years of education. I’ll go behind the scenes to look at the test preparations and be with them during test week.
• Funny school memories—Over my two years there have been countless moments of laughter at school. Here we will look at just a few.
• Preparing a Samoan meal—I’ll head into the Samoan kitchen to help prepare a meal, and then eat it!
• Fishing—Going out with someone from the village as they fish for their family’s meal.


• Before and after pictures—We will look back through two years worth of pictures to see how things looked in 2009 upon my arrival, and what those same places, people and things look like before my departure in December of 2011.
Come along for the ride! It should be a great four months! Thanks for reading and supporting my service as a Peace Corps volunteer!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moonlight Run

I was out running on Thursday evening and was captivated by the moon as it rose over the ocean! That’s when I decided I would go out again on Friday night, but with my camera in hand!

Heading out the door at 6:30 I was heading up the hills near my house when I caught the first glimpses of the moon. It was hard to take a bad picture at any time, given the landscapes around me. Soon I found myself at one of my favorite vantage points along the narrow and winding road to my house. I like to stand atop a big rock that gives me a great view down to the rocky coast below and the vast stretches of ocean that reach to the horizon.

It wasn’t long after reaching my rock that night had set in. From then on I was maneuvering by the light of the moon as it shimmered across the water. With its light I could see huge fruit bats flying over head, a sight I often get to enjoy each evening.

Making the way back towards my house, I could clearly see the palms of the coconut trees lining the road as the moon cast their shadows on the road. My shadow was even visible on the edge of the rock faces that line the road. As I approached my house I stopped once more to take one final picture. I was wishing that I could hold onto the moment longer, or even store it away for another day. But I won’t soon forget my first night run overlooking the ocean here in Samoa!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Harry Potter

My new reading material.
I’ve never read a single Harry Potter book or seen a single one of the movies! It has left me out of the loop on several conversations over the years, since it has become such frenzy among readers young and old. It’s never bothered me; I just came to accept the fact that I’m not a big reader of fiction.

As volunteers we have access to shelves of books in the Peace Corps office. The very top shelf is reserved for the oversized Harry Potter books that have made their way to this tropical island. There are several volunteers here who have wanted to read the series over again from the beginning, but could never track down a copy of the first book, “The Philosopher’s Stone.” But low and behold, this morning I was sitting in the office when Chelsea from Group 83 asked if I wanted a copy of the first book. Without too much hesitation I told her I would take it.

I’ve heard from several people that I’ll never have as much time to read in the future, as I do now as a Peace Corps Volunteer, so I figured it’s not too late to get with program. People in the office really were excited for me, knowing that I had this one copy of the book and that I had never read any of them or seen the movies! So over the next few months I’ll be taking on this challenge which I hear is a 7 book feat!

In other news:

• It was a fantastic weather week! Very low humidity by Samoan standards with pleasant nights in the 70’s (that’s as cool as it gets here)! This morning on the open Samoan bus, the breeze with the overcast windows was quite chilly! I checked the temperature when I got to town and it was 75 degrees.

• Five cows came stampeding down the hill next to the school on Thursday, causing my 23 students to go dashing to the windows. Then the cows ran back up the hill as fast as they came down. It’s still not confirmed what they were running from, although I suspect it was a dog.

• In other cow news, there was a sick one this past week that ended up dying and so the meet was taken to town and sold for a hefty profit I hear. I found the hunk of meat out by the road one afternoon before the truck came to pick it up (see picture below).

• When trying to have a serious conversation with a student about their behavior in my class this week, the partition wall they were leaning against went falling into the opposite room because the latch had come loose. Luckily no one was on the other side when it went down with a boom, although it killed the atmosphere for my conversation.

• There were many long hours at school for me this week. Most days I skip lunch because I’m busy working with students in my room on different assignments or reading groups. On Thursday I was especially busy as I worked with students after school and then kids from the high school came by after that. At 4:30p.m. I realized I hadn’t eaten anything since that morning before school, so I took a 20 minute break before going back to work on lesson plans until 6:30. I think it ended up being an 11 hour day, but I felt good about it when it was all over.

A friend from the village with the dead cow.

I took this one after my 11 hour work day on Thursday.

Grading papers this week at home.