Friday, October 30, 2009

first visitors

Our first visitors - Doug, Kelley and Davey. Friends from Antarctica, we left the ice in February and honeymooned until we left for Peace Corps in September. These three stayed in Antarctica, spending the entire winter there. They got off the ice in October and decided to spend a couple weeks in Vanuatu. We hadn't seen them or talked to them since February. During the final two weeks before going to Pentecost, we were staying in a hotel in Port Vila. We were on our way to morning training when we here someone saying Alex's name. We look up to see Doug and Kelley sitting on the computer. Without knowing we were even in country, they checked into the same hotel, in the room right beside ours. We ended up spending a lot of time with them in Vila, even taking in some tourist attractions including a waterfall and a circumnavigation of Efate Island.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

hello everyone!!!

Alex and I are alive and well in Vanuatu. By chance, I have found myself in front of a computer for a few minutes. We have two more weeks of training (without internet access) and then off to our village for two years. We learn next week what village we'll be in. It's all pretty exciting, training is hard work most days. The place here is prettier than could have been expected and everyone is so nice. The language has come along relatively well, I feel I can speak okay with a patient listener. We'll be alright and we'll get writing on the blog as soon as opportunity to do so presents itself.

Friday, October 23, 2009


myself, training village host brother Lentley and friend Tava. This picture is from antap, when we had to run to the hills because of the tsunami warning. These two were certainly my two closest friends during training.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Alex and I with our friend Laura, got to love matching outfits. This picture was taken one Sunday morning after church.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

September 11

Alex doesn't agree with me, but I see many similarities between departing for Peace Corps and departing for Antarctica. Both involved us flying west to a city where we got on a shuttle bus that took us to hotel and then we spent the next day (or two if your going to Antarctica) in training and then a big bus takes you to the airport many, many hours before your plane leaves and you wait and try to write reflective blog entries.

Beyond that, there's this energy that comes with meeting a bunch of strangers who have been brought together for a common purpose we have all individually chosen.

We are certainly not all here for the same reasons, but there's an underlying feeling of likeness or kinship or something. I felt the same feeling with Antarctica (again, not so sure Alex would agree).

There's a lot more homogeneity with the peace corps group than the antarctica group. We are all (I'm assuming) educated and have been assigned to Vanuatu because of the handful of technical skills Vanuatu has requested. We're not trying to run a city that requires vastness of backgrounds, skills and knowledge as required for the ice.

I think there's more of a social-worky stereotype with the peace corps and less of the escapist mentality that shadows Antarctica.

Whatever the actual reality of similarities between experiences doesn't really matter, it's just fun to think about.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

3 weeks down

Today makes 3 weeks (a full 21 days!) we've been in Vanuatu. It's 7:30 on a Sunday evening and close to our bedtime. The weather has been great and everyone is so nice. We went to church this morning. The service (as is typical in this country) was done in three different languages, the local language, bislama and english. Songs are in all three languages - sometimes in the same song, our church has an entire hymn book in the local language. The bible readings switches between bislama and english, the sermon is usually in bislama. Today's reading was the passover - you know - everyone needs to put some blood on their door so the devil doesn't get them. I could kind of imagine our village getting together an organizing some type of 'blood on everyone's door' committee. Not that it's anymore relevant, but it did some how feel more possible - which I appreciated, thus helping the 3-hour service go a bit quicker.

Our training village is on the North coast of Efate island in a small village with about 500 people. We spend two hours a day in language training, but it seems to be enough as we are both doing fine with bislama, we can both make small small talk with a patient listener.

Training is training, we were warned about it before we got here. You get told what to do a lot and sometimes not all of the trainers are on the same page, so we end up spending plenty of time determining what we are meant to do. In the end, everyone wants us to do well and we'll be fine.

We're thinking of you guys...