Tanoliu Part 2

12 04 2013

Things are super dandy at the moment.
I owe an update since my last blog was full of a lot of village drama.
After going to Brisbane, I returned to work in my village at the school. On Thursday, there was a small formal “sorry ceremony” in which the chief, my headmaster, two Peace Corps staff, a policewoman, and another elder from the village all gave short talks. My mother and I shook hands and exchanged gifts. It turns out I was supposed to have something to give her as a way of saying “I accept your apology” and “things are okie-dokie now.” Luckily I have a huge supply of Maewo baskets on hand. She gave me a nice woven mat, hugged me and whispered sincere sounding apologetic words in my ear along the lines of not meaning what she had done and that I was welcome in her house. I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Then my new mother and I had to shake hands. People mentioned in their talk talks about how my getting a new family was a formality, and that I still want to have a relationship with my old family, which is true.
Now I basically have two families. I get the impression they are from two separate families in the village and may not think too highly of each other. But despite that, since the incident my old family has had me over for kava and dinner. And I have begun building a relationship with my new family. It just so happens my awesome (and very pregnant- soon to pop) new sister has a kava bar and she is VERY generous with giving me kava. Visiting the family often leads to drinking kava and then them sending me home with a plate of food. I can’t complain. I feel comfortable going to both for assistance or to story and am thankful I get to keep working in this village and that things are over and not at all awkward. Life moves on. I know the experience would have been much different had this been my first placement and I had been a 1st year volunteer. I’d like to think I’ve grown a lot throughout my service and was able to handle this lil’ drama with a lot more ease and grace than I would have had it happened 2 years ago.

So what am I doing now?

poutine day!

poutine day!

It’s very challenging and tempting to not come in to Port Vila every weekend. It is so easy to catch transport in to town on weekends or when I am out of school. Although I do sit by the road for over an hour sometimes, it will always beat a 5 hour walk+ 1.5 hour boat ride+ 2 hour plane. To tempt me even more, I have 3 lovely people to stay with while in town. They rent a nice house, and we share delicious meals and delicious company. Didier, Florence, and Leila have become fantastic friends and make my life while in Vila substantially more comfortable.

I still take cold showers because I feel bad using their gas, but I get to use their washing machine, which beats hand washing a sheet! So I am pretty spoiled in that regard. I could even pay for a thai massage and go to yoga regularly if I want. But obviously, this is all costing me a lot more of my incy wincy monthly moneys. Moneys I need to be trying hard to save so that I can a) get SCUBA certified, b) travel back to Maewo one more time before leaving Vanuatu and c) travel to Southeast Asia before returning to America. I’m getting better about spending less money, but there is some sort of mysterious Port Vila monster that just seems to eat it all up. I miss living on the outer islands bigwan in that regard.


In the school I seem to stay very busy. I have been organizing/color coding each book in the small school library. I oversee the library sessions each week for class 3, 4, and 6. I have been creating Phonics/writing work sheets for each letter A-Z which we give to the class 1 and 2. I will scan these and make them available to other volunteers as a resource they can use in their classrooms. I did phonics/reading assessments on all the students in the school to see their levels and so that I can record improvement as the year progresses. I take the year 1 and 2 classes in 4 different groups outside and work on their phonics with them. The smaller groups (I also group them by lower and higher skill level) helps me work a little more personally with each student and helps them pay attention more. I try to create some fun games that are new to them and get them interested in letter sounds. Yep, we are still working on the sounds of the letters and very basic sight words. No real reading just yet. Small steps with these guys, but I feel like they are coming along and that my work is making a small difference.
I’m going to start on a large world map project this month, which I think the school and community will really love. I’m excited to have photos to post of it.



Sweating a lot, working some, and playing a bit too.

Life is pretty garsh darn  good.




2 responses

12 04 2013
Pam Blount

Having to make a budget is no fun, especially when things are so tempting. Enjoyed talking to you last month.

12 04 2013

On the one hand, all work and no play (or indulgences) makes for blah blah blah. On the other hand, your goals (scuba cert, etc.) all sound pretty amazing. Kind of a great problem to have, yeah?

SO relieved the drama settled out and agreed – your abilities to handle same are a reflection of some of the gains you’ve made as a result of your work there. We are all very proud of you, Jen!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: