What we learned from our Volunteer Visit (10-24)

Things I learned in Epi:
1) Make a point to integrate into your community. You will enjoy everything more if you are happily living within a community instead of acting like a hermit.
2) Eat food you like. Food should be more than fuel so find ways to feed yourself that you like.
3) Find a secondary (or primary) project that you are passionately interested in. When everything else is falling apart, you will still be doing something you like.
4) Continue healthy and honest communication with your significant other.
5) The ocean is beautiful. Invest in good snorkeling gear. And get SCUBA certified.
6) Become a “man blo walkabout.” The views are worth the hikes up the giant hills and the exercise goes well with the Island diet of root crops.
7) Don’t go walkabout in the middle of the day. It turns out the tropics are hot at that time.
8) The other volunteers on your island will be your best friends and support network. Think of it like a marriage, even when you don’t like them, you’re stuck so make the best of it. Some of them are even pretty cool.
9) Go talk to people. Everyone is doing something and it kills hours. It’s also a great way to get fed.
10) Find a hobby. Then find another one. And maybe one more. After that, take up some form of exercise and learn a musical instrument. And maybe teach yourself handstands. You will have that much time to spend doing nothing.
11) Master the art of staring into space. It is vital to conversational skills and time wasting.
12) You will wait for your transport. If you aren’t waiting, it’s because it came early and you missed it. Bring a book next time.
13) Bring your camera. Everywhere. Turns out those views are everywhere and this place is full of odd little insects and pretty flowers. Or fish and coral. Or children doing something silly. Or partners doing something silly. Just generally bring your camera.
14) Running water is awesome. Showers are a luxury. Don’t expect to have anything more high class than a hut with a bucket. You have to provide your own scoop.
15) Chickens are both obnoxious and hilarious. They are like little, spastic dinosaurs full of fluff. They are also blind and don’t understand that the sun really doesn’t rise at 2 am.

All in all, it was an informative trip. I’m glad we went.

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