Tuesday, June 23, 2009


It's been a long while since I have blogged. I'll try to do a brief summary of what has happened since April.

By the end of April, I was preparing my Year 12 class for their second CAT (Common Assessment Task) which tested them on Microsoft Word. Many extra classes were held before and after school in order for all the students to get a chance to practice, since having between eight and ten computers (they're always breaking) didn't allow them enough practice in-class. After all the practice, the students did pretty well. The average for the class was an 82 percent.

I brought all of their CATs to Apia after it was administered that day (May 8th) because Paul, Phil, and I were catching our flight to Fiji the next morning at 5AM. So I quickly graded the CATs, and asked Matt to submit them to the Ministry of Education for me. That night in Apia, Phil, Paul, and I joined Matt and his parents (who were visiting) for dinner at The Curry House. The next morning we cabbed it to the airport at 3AM. We left Samoa at 5AM on Saturday, May 9th, but arrived in Nadi, Fiji, after only an hour and half flight at 630AM on Sunday, May 10th. After crossing the International Date Line, we practically lost all of Saturday, May 9, 2009.

Fiji was awesome. We had a great time being in a country with an actual city and eating many types of food that cannot be found in Samoa. We met Peace Corps who were volunteering there, and ended up staying with them for all of our stay in Fiji minus the first day when we stayed in a dorm in Suva. We are probably the only tourists in the world to go to Fiji and not ever step foot on a beach.

When we got back, we had a week of training with the Peace Corps. We stayed at a beach fale on the southwest side of 'Upolu called Faofao. It was just our group, Group 81, so nice to be hanging out all together again.

After training, I headed back to my host village for a week and stayed with them. It was the first time I had been back in several months, so it was nice to see my Samoan family. Before going, I brought a bunch of food for them in Apia so they wouldn't have to spent their money on me. When they saw all the food, the were happy, but insisted that I not waste my money and just eat the food from the village. It was really nice to be back. I felt very comfortable being back with them, hanging out, staying in the bedroom that I occupied for the first two and half months here in Samoa.

School started again two and half weeks ago. We are in our third week and I have been busy again, trying to prepare the Year 12 students for their next CAT (which is this Friday, June 26th). We also had Saturday class last weekend that last for three hours. It was pouring rain, and the kids didn't want to leave, so they did not mind sitting there and learning more and more about Microsoft Excel. It was interesting to see them in their street clothes. Many of boys came with a nice button-down shirt, and the girls had stylish clothes and wore earrings. One of the girls even had her hair down which in Samoa is very, very uncommon, especially in the villages. Girls typically have their hair in a pony tail or up in a bun.

After class ended, I went down to the market to help out with the health fair that another PCV, Nick, organized at the new market on Savai'i. Many of us came out to help. It was a two-day event (Friday & Saturday). It was covered by the local TV stations, and my kids saw me on TV!

I have also been busy trying to organize my village, Vailoa, and two other villages nearby, Vaito'omuli and Fa'ala, for the arrival of some former Peace Corps Volunteers, who are now eye doctors. They're coming back to screen Samoans for eye diseases and problems. They'll be here next Monday, and will stay for a week. So, every day after school next week, I will head over there and help out with the screenings. I have continued to help out at the women's committee with their computer center, teaching kids computers.

I have been managed to host a couple of couchsurfers as well.

An update on my computer lab -
After meetings, letters being written, and site visits from higher authorities, I was able to acquire some things for my lab. The school committee finally put the last piece up in the ceiling, and painted it. Yesterday, the brought two electricians, and four ceiling fans were installed! Bright green curtains were put also put up. All done in the nick of time, as an inspector came to check on the computer lab earlier this morning.

Here a few pictures from last weekend's health fair -

Everyone working away at the health fair

Jim and a couple of nurses

Nick being interviewed by the TV station.