Thursday, July 4, 2013

Long Overdue

Hello! Let me start off by apologizing for not posting in a very longtime. My access to Internet is so very limited and the times I do get it (when I go to town) is usually a very frantic time and I just don't have time for the blog. Anyway I just wanted to say this will most likely be the last post. If you enjoy reading this blog I'm sorry to say that murdering pigs, trudging through mud, and eating nothing but crackers and peanut butter has become the norm in my life so I just can't keep talking about things that are new and exciting. Currently I'm in Central Pentecost but in about a month I will be heading to a new island called Santo. Very excited about it, but if you want to get in contact with me you can always do so by email or Facebook. Thanks for following this blog!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Life in the Penthouse

When I say Penthouse I mean my new island of Pentecost. Go ahead, look it up, it's ridiculously close to my last island Ambae but it couldn't be more different. I used to go through droughts in the dry season but there's plenty of water here. In fact there are a multitude of rivers and waterfalls which is awesome and I have a tap right outside my house! I'll never have to worry about water again. My house is located a five minute walk from both the river and the ocean which is pretty cool. Interesting fun fact about my new school of Melsisi: it's totally francophone. Which means they all speak French. This is pretty cool because maybe I'll get to learn French but I can only hope. The really difficult part is all of the computers (all five of them) are in French! Just imagine trying to work through Microsoft Word when everything is in French, yea pretty difficult. Hopefully my Francais picks up quick but other than that everything is great. My new host family is actually the principal of the school which is nice, he's really helpful and says I can come over and eat with them anytime which I will be sure to take full advantage of. 

So this will be my last training for a while so I'm not sure when I'll next have Internet, but I do have an iPhone now and I can get Internet on it so we'll see what happens! Here's some pics from the past few weeks, take care all!

View first night I got back from the US.

My plane with ONE pilot..what if he has a heart attack?

It's funny because as I stand here, I have 0 cell phone reception.

French school, French word for showers? Douches.

My neighbor left his door open, woops.

The waterfall at Waterfall Village

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lots of updates

Hey I'm not sure if anyone is still reading this but if you are, I apologize for not updating in a while. A lot has been going on so I'll do my best with this post to update everyone up to this point!

Let's see, first off and probably the biggest is that I'm getting a site change. I won't go into too much detail but my other school was the first site for a PCV and I just don't think they were ready yet for a volunteer. So I found out I was moving before I left for the USA in December. So I packed up all of my stuff, put it on a ship, and sent it to the capital (yes even my bicycle which I was a little worried about). Everything actually made it just fine which was a big relief.

So about 8 of us all bought the same plane ticket to go home for the states in December which was cool because it beats travelling alone. After some very long plane rides (Vanuatu -> Fiji -> LA -> North Carolina -> Newark) I finally made it home! It was so incredible to see my family and friends again after being away for over a year. In the US I feel like everything has changed and yet everything is the same, it's hard to explain but so much has changed but really its the same as how I left it. I had an incredible time eating all of the best foods there is. I really missed good pizza and calzones and it goes on and on but basically food is really great, don't take for granted the ease and accessibility for getting any kind of kakae (food) you want!

Some other things you shouldn't take for granted: electricity and internet. Both are few and far between in Vanuatu and having both all of the time is really crazy but also extremely convenient and nice to have.

When I was home I did a lot of stuff that I can only do in America like bowling, movies, etc... I won't go on too much about my trip back home because this blog is about being a PCV in Vanautu but one thing that I got to do was ski again which was awesome and probably the thing I miss the most when I'm over there. I even was lucky enough to go on a trip to Stratton, Vermont with my two friends which you guys can check out here if ya like:

I just came back to Vanuatu mid January and I was really looking forward to coming back. I know I had a site change but I wasn't sure which island I was going to next until I actually got here. It turns out I'm going to central Pentecost which should be a good time. It's totally francophone which means I need to start learning French if I want to fit in! I also have a river right by my site which is really cool, never have to take a bucket shower again! I don't know too much about the site but I'll be back in Vila again soon for training and then I can update everyone on the new site.

In the meantime here are some random pics I took since my last post, enjoy:
The flier for my farwell party

Me and my host brother at my farewell feast

One of my best buddies on Ambae, the chaplain with my farwell gifts


I'll miss this dog

Me giving a speech at my farwell party

All of the bags the great people at Londua gave me


Me and my counterpart/best friend Samsley

The wonderful truck of Londua!

Me and my friend Calvin wearing nambas

Monday, November 5, 2012

Temporary Spel

So I have a few more updates to write but the Internet here is just really too bad to do it and I have some photos too, but here's a quick update. I've made it a year in country! That's pretty big and I'm excited to see what the next year has in store for me in this very interesting country. In more or less than a month I will be going home to NJ for whole month, I'm getting really pumped to see everyone back home and can't wait to go home, if you're reading this, you probably know me, and you should definitely make some time to see me!

Some things I want to do in America:

Walk around a mall.
Walk around Walmart.
Walk around and not get started at/asked where I'm going
Eat things other than rice & bread & bananas.
Go to a movie theater.
Go out to eat.
Eat a pizza.
Talk English with Americans.
Fist pump.
Drive a car.

These are just some off the top of my head but I'll be back home in December, can't wait to see everyone!

Dog Down

If you’ve been reading the blog, you should be aware that I have a dog, her name is Shaiah. Whenever I walk into ‘town’ (the post office and a store that has baked beans and crackers) she always follows me because dogs are pretty cool like that. No one has a leash or anything so your dog just kind of follows you wherever you go, they’re pretty loyal even though they get treated so badly. I’m sure many of you at home who have dogs notice that if a car goes by sometimes the dog goes crazy and tries to attack the tire of the car, which is obviously a death sentence for the dog. In America dogs are usually on a leash so this is not a problem, but on Ambae (and Vanuatu in general) a leash would be ridiculous. As I was starting to walk home a truck was coming pretty fast and I noticed my dog running directly towards it and something told me it wasn’t going to end well.
It’s pretty horrific to witness your first truck hitting a dog experience, and this was no exception, especially when it was your dog. Yes the back wheel hit little Shy and sort of twisted her neck around and left her in a heap of her own feces and blood. That was the first time I cried on the island and I have no problem admitting that, I really love that dog and she’s been really great to me. I was crying quite a bit and yelling and was quickly surrounded by about 50 Nivans who’s first and immediate reaction was “quick, get him a new puppy, I think this house down here has one”. It’s times like this when the cultural barrier hits you like a truck. After making it very clear that I did not want anyone’s dog and hearing everyone saying she’s dead a truck came and I brought her on and took her back to my house.
It was a really low point for me, one of those times when the dog you’ve had for over 6 months is very slowly painfully dying and there’s nothing you can do. I’m on an island that has poor healthcare for people, the only solution to this problem for a Nivan would be to kill the dog. Little Shy seemed to have other plans because although it was a very rough time for her, she was actually surviving somehow, well she wasn’t dead yet anyway. For the next three days she didn’t drink water or eat food even though I tried. End of the third day she finally ate a spoonful of peanut butter and drank 3 bowls of milk and somehow she just kept getting better after that. It was pretty amazing and I’m still amazed she was alive.
She started walking around again but her coordination was so bad that she was constantly walking into walls and tripping on her own feet, I thought it was permanent damage but it’s been over a month now and she’s seem to have made a complete recovery! Everyone who sees her walking in town with me now asks if I got another dog and I have to explain that no, this is the same dog. They give me crazy looks and think I resurrected her using black magic but I just told them I’m an animal doctor and they seem to accept it and are just as amazed as I am that she’s OK and walking around! Klosap taem blo hemi gat bel! (Almost time for her to be preggers!), oh the joys of being a dog dad!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Last Minute Updates

Sorry not much of an update this time, it's 5:45am and I'm getting ready to go to the airport soon to go back to Ambae! This is a big one because I won't have Internet again for another 3 months!! Actually when I do have Internet again will be during the next groups site announcements! It's super exciting and I can't wait to meet the new group, shout out to you guys if you're reading now, G25 woo! I did eventually make it to the top of the volcano! (pics below) It was pretty incredible. It didn't feel like I was on Ambae anymore, it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen in my life and the pictures just don't really do it justice. The water has sulferic acid and it's milky colored. I went in the water and it kind of burned but it also cleaned all of my cuts, also it was super warm thanks to the volcano underneath it! Well this is the last update in a while, I won't have Internet for another 3 months but when I do it'll be when I'm going home to America for a month!! Going in December and I'm super excited to see friends, family and go skiing. Oh also I gotta be at the airport early because I'm taking little Tekeroi Anga back to Ambae with me, he's 4 and I met him and he  seemed to instantly like me so that's always good. You know you're integrated when you're carrying peoples children around the islands, hope I don't lose him.

That's about all for now, bongkarea wan taem!

P.S. I hope I can find my dog, when I went to the airport to come here she chased the truck all the way because she didn't want me to leave her. It's super sad and when I got on the plane someone had to hold her because she tried to get on with me. Really hope she made it back to my house OK!

Biggest pot of rice I've ever seen for C

The most organic lunch I've ever eaten thanks to my amazing gardening skills

A dog I was watching & Shaiah!

My dog apparently is an expert hunter

Octopus - really good actually

Students just burning stuff by my house, nbd

THIS is Lake Vui

Everything is dead on top thanks to the eruption years ago

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Repercussions, Vila Town & 4th of July

So I’m not going to go into too much detail but let’s just say Peace Corps wasn’t too happy with what happened and granted that’s due to me breaking some policy. A few days after everything happened I get a call from the office telling me I have a plane ticket to go in two days and that was all. Obviously I was pretty worried because at that point I thought they were bringing me in to kick me out of the Peace Corps which would have really sucked. Anyway I get into town after saying bye to some close friends telling them hopefully I would be back. I go in to one meeting and then am pretty much left to just sit in limbo for two weeks which wasn’t too fun. All I kept hearing was “no decision has been made” so there were some pretty stressful times here but then our country director came back (he was away in DC). This was an extremely good thing. Our current country director is one of the best people I know, he’s really great. We talked and he listened to my story and understood more of what happened from my perspective and asked me to do a few things so he could try to get me to stay (writing up a report of what happened, etc..)
            So what happened after that was pretty surreal, the country director himself decided to come to Ambae and see what it’s all about, and guess what else? I’d be acting as his guide. So it was pretty ironic and pretty fast planning but he asked me how to get around and where to go so I told him and he asked me to walk around Ambae with him which I of course acquiesced. We flew into East Ambae, saw some other volunteers sites and then hopped on a truck and went for a pretty bumpy ride up to Mac and Joels site and spent the night. The next day we walked to Zacks site and that was no easy walk, luckily our CD is in pretty good shape and he was able to handle it greatly and this was a real eye opener for him, he said he gets to see how hard it is and what we have to deal with every day so I’m really glad he got to come.
Anyway it wasn’t all bad being in Vila and I got to be there for 4th of July which was really a lot of fun! Something pretty fun to do in this country is to browse through Chinese shops and find the most ridiculous and outlandish clothes you can possibly find and then wear them! This time I got pretty lucky and found some good stuff (pics below) and we got to drink bud light and party on a beach with a bonfire. It was a good night and I’m glad I got to experience the most American holiday there is with other Americans! Also everything is all good now in case you were wondering and I’m going back to Ambae very soon, so here’s to hoping I don’t get in to any more trouble!

Our chinese store clothes find!

Pidgeon blong Amerika!
Face paint!

I think mine was the most elaborate