Saturday, January 24, 2009

Progress Report: Month XVII


This past month was marked by my three-week visit to Minneapolis and by sorting out the burglary of my Samoan house. However, there is still lots’ happening.

New Primary School
Construction on the new primary school has begun with the clearing and grading of 10 acres using heaving machinery.

The local hospital is prepared to have another clinic. They want to test everyone in the village for diabetes, hypertension, and BMI within the next month. This is in addition to the first round of testing conducted last August.

I have brought four blood pressure cuffs from the U.S. and purchased in Samoa a glucose monitor, test strips, and a scale for conducting individual tests on people who miss the clinic. I have started testing villagers on my own. This project may end up consuming most of my time in the months ahead. Donations are graciously accepted.

As I guessed, my host family just doesn’t have the time to devote to my garden in the back of their property. The squash is consuming the garden like a weed. It is even in the trees! I am finally getting fruit. So after clearing out a lot of weeds from my absence, I planted some experimental zucchini and some bush beans. I have come to the resolution that my garden may return to the trash pile it was before Mary and I arrived.

Hope does spring eternal and a newly married young neighbor and his wife have started a garden next door. Also the President of the Women’s Committee may release her cleared land for a community garden. The neighboring village is also ready to start family gardens, although I noticed the family garden plot in the front of a community leader has returned to grass. At least they are proud of the sunflowers I gave them. I have also planted some flower seeds. Maybe you can’t eat them, but there is more interest in flowers than food.

I am really happy that a number of the newer Peace Corps Volunteers on Savaii have started garden projects in their own villages. It is fun to compare notes and to know of their successes.

Small Business
I bought over 60 DVDs in the U.S. for the rental store across the road. She is happy to pay me for DVDs I have no interest in watching. Now I know why a one star movie can still make money.

Sewing Machines
Sewing classes are to begin again next month.

I showed the New Zealand High Commission my washboard in hopes of generating some interest in having them fund their importation. I may find out more next month. Afterall, how can they fail to support a business owned by fellow Kiwis?

Talent Show
What do I know? After first learning the village wanted another talent show, then learning just before my vacation that there was no one to organize one, I find out that they had one on Christmas Eve. This was not as big as the one before, but a show nonetheless

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