Thursday, April 19, 2007

So once again it has been awhile since my last post and it has been a busy few months, with plenty of highs and lows (which I sure the staff said was normal at our early service conference if I had been there to hear it but more on that in a minute).

So after my dad left I headed back to the village and spent the two weeks working on the new building for the women’s committee. It was fun to be doing some physical labor and put my skills to some use. There is also a lot of ceremony that goes along with such a project. At different times different groups presented to the others different gifts such as fine mats, canned fish, meat, etc… It is kind of funny because everyone including the builder is from the village but those are the traditional requirements of the culture. During those two weeks I was also fed very well and lots of it. I would often have at least 6 meals served during the day. Breakfast at home, morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea, something at the end of the day and then dinner back at home. Often at lunch different people would get me to sit next to them I think at least in part to get my leftovers which were usually quiet a bit of food. While working there is often also a lot of down time for sitting around drinking ava and playing checkers which adds some variety to the day.

So my groups early service conference was the week of Feb 12 at a very nice beach fale place on Savai’i, they had hot showers. I however started running a fever the Saturday before and by Monday was pretty well drained. So I proceeded to sleep in a fale until wed when our medical officer came over and decided I should come into Apia and that I probably had Dengue Fever. I spent wed night in a hotel room in Apia and then was admitted to the hospital Thursday morning. I had become very dehydrated and was admitted mainly to be put on an IV of fluids. I was in till Saturday and then a few more days of rest in a hotel. Dengue Fever is something you never want to experience your whole body hurts joints, bones, muscles and You have a blinding head ache behind the eyes so that you want it to be dark all the time. Then to top it all off you get a rash all over your body.

Then it was back to the village for a few days of hanging out the work had stopped for various reasons and wouldn’t start back up again until nearly April. But that was ok I had plenty going on. Jim one of my professors from tech had been at a conference in New Zealand and was able to come to Samoa for a quick visit so I had four days of playing tour guide and he got to see a good section of what I’m doing here and the conditions I live in which was nice. We also did a short hike to the Robert Louis Stevenson tomb and spent sometime on the beach.

After Jim left career day took over my life for a few weeks. The Apia career day was 6th and a huge success. We had nearly 1500 kids and about 40 businesses participate as well as departments from the National University of Samoa where it was held. It gave students a chance to see what kind of options where available and what skills they would need to take advantage of those opportunities. We also held a smaller event two weeks later on Savai’i which also went well but it is harder to get businesses to come over so which means not as many sectors are covered. We are going to look into getting more funding to bring everyone to NUS next year but we will see what happens.

Also right after Jim left I learned that a good friend from Tech had pasted away. It came as a great shock took awhile too work out among the chaos that was my life at the time. He was unfortunately not the first friend to pass while I have been here but it doesn’t get easier if anything it gets harder each time. So I just wanted to say thanks to all the friends and family back home and around the globe I know I’m not the best a keeping in touch but hearing from you all is great and exciting.

In fun news we had a nice little volunteer pub crawl through Apia complete with home made t-shirts. It was a lot of fun and got a good cross section of the post together with out causing too much trouble.

More recently have been finishing up the women’s fale, the grand opening is tomorrow. And doing other random things around the village. It is hard to believe how fast the time goes by. In June I’ll have been here a year and a new group will be showing up I still can’t believe it. Hope all is well and I’ll try not to let 3 months go by without a post but no promises.

Placing forms for the Women's Committee fale foundation.
Mixing concrete in the developing world is pretty universal and labor intensive.

The fale has an ope front area fo meetings and a few rooms in the back for storage.

A sea of youth at the Apia Career Day.

The Police drew quite a crowd to there display.

St. Patty's day just isn't the same without Guinness but that didn't slow us down.
The Aftermath (note not as comfortable as it looks).