Thursday, July 7, 2011

Déjà vu and Aufaga too

June 28, 2011

Natalie Ziemba is a first year Peace Corps teacher in a rural primary school in Aufaga on the island of Upolu. She is trying to form Challenge groups but her efforts so far have failed. When asked what she had done, I could not help but relate to her frustrations.

Like Mary and I had done previously, Natalie walked the road in her village, stopping at individual houses, and then put up signs announcing a meeting for those who are interested in joining the Samoa Challenge (We did the same for a talent contest). No one showed, even those who said they would. Her heart and spirits were broken. I said not to worry I think I can relate to your situation, so off to Aufaga I fled.

We started with the teachers in her school. We got out the scale, put up the measuring tape, literature, and those mighty pink wristbands. Before long the teachers were enrolled, enthusiastic to others join them, some from other villages. Next target was the church, the minister was out of the country, but the leader of the young adult group was in the middle of his daily activities. When shown the Biblical quotation about God’s word on the “body being his temple”, he too was on board and was ready to get his group involved.

This is the way things work around here, build it or set it up and they will come. People don’t have appointment calendars; they want to make sure something will happen by seeing it happen first, then maybe. Of course, getting to the right people and referencing the Bible helps too.

For teachers who are used to the discipline of small children in a classroom, interacting with adults in the village can be a daunting experience. It is just another part of “The Challenge”.

The epilogue is yet to be written about Natalie and Aufaga, but they are on their way. They just need to “try”.


Anonymous said...

Hi i like to thank the Peace Corp Natalie (TALI) for putting so much effort in the children. I'm half aufaga and i dont know if Tali remembers me but we always come there every christmas and i've seen a hard working person Tali is. I'm kinna like disappointed at the villagers for taking advantages these great opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Such a great person we miss you at our church Tali(EFKS AUFAGA )