Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Justin “Iusi” Newnum Leaves


Justin is the eighth person from our original group of sixteen to leave within one year of being in a village. He says the village didn’t have anything for him to do and he got tired of reading books, watching DVDs and TV. He plans to return to his Tennessee home before graduate school at the University of Iowa in Occupational and Environmental Health with an international emphasis. He came to Samoa right after his undergraduate graduation.

Like others departing before him, ET or Early Termination leaves a hollow feeling for those still here. For the remainders these departures can strengthen ones resolve to continue what is a seemingly impossible mission; for others it is a reconfirmation that other options are available.

Trying to understand why Samoa has a vastly higher number of volunteers ETing has lots of people scratching their heads. One reason may be the Samoans themselves. For Americans who are used to a constant flow of praise and recognition even for the smallest of deeds, Samoa can be a lonely place where one gets little or no feedback, let alone praise. It is not that Samoans are not appreciative. They just don’t show it. Living with the unfamiliar takes its toll on all who enter its gates.

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