Sunday, July 29, 2007

Volunteer Visit/Independent Travel

July 3-6, 2007

Volunteer Visit/Independent Travel

Each member of our training group was sent to separate villages to visit an experienced Peace Corps Volunteer and to learn how to travel about on our own. Mary and I decided to separate so we could get independent experiences.

Mary stayed with Amanda Wetter in the village of Salelesi on the island of Upolo, not far from our training village. Amanda has one of the nicest places with her own small house furnished with stove and facilities. She tagged along with Amanda to her project at a nearby elementary school where she has been instrumental in setting up a library, as well as some teaching. Mary became an immediate success when she taught the children how to do the “Hokey Pokey”. She also went to a July 4th celebration at the U.S. Charge d’Affairs office in Apia.

I went to the village of Shalala on the more remote and bigger island of Savaii to stay with Derek “Tele” Marshall from Oklahoma. One has to travel 1 hour by bus, another 1 ½ hours by ferry, and finally another hour by bus to get to his village. I had never met him before. More about Derek on another blog entry.

Upon returning from our independent travel, I think most of us had a better understanding as to what we may face, certainly not the neatness of our training village of Manunu, nor the comforts of our Apia Hotel.

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