We are going to Pentecost Island. Look it up on google earth and youtube. Google earth will show you beautiful vistas and youttube will show you land diving. Jason will be teaching basic computing to 9th and 10th graders at the Catholic Mission of Melsisi. The reason he isn’t likely to be teaching to the older students is because this is a Francophone area, which is to say, they speak French. I will be working at an aid post in a village about an hour’s walk away. You may be thinking, “Wow, an hour walk, isn’t that rather a long commute?” And I would say, “Yes. Luckily the Peace Corps has considered this and built us not one but two houses.” Seriously, we have 2 houses. I’m not sure how this is going to work out, I’m just thinking that my childhood experiences with divorced parents and changing houses is probably going to come in handy. And apparently it is reasonably normal around those parts for families to have two houses, one at the mission and one in the village or by their garden.
Here is our work as far as we know so far. Jason will be teaching basic computing and keyboarding skills to young teens, supporting the computer lab on the tech side, and assisting his counterpart in teaching computers and in building curriculum for the upper grades. For those of you who realize Jason has basically no experience with teaching in an academic setting, don’t worry, he doesn’t. But, we’ve been in training for two months and there are some really excellent resources in the other volunteers and their experience.
My job remains a lot less well-defined. I am going to be working in the public health field in the village of Vansemakul. If you can figure out how to pronounce that, more power to you. Depending on what my counterpart wants, I could be doing anything from running workshops, trying to re-invigorate interest in general health in the area, starting a water and sanitation project, building toilets, teaching teens about reproductive health at the high school, running and leadership camp or anything around the idea of making people healthy. Some projects that have been successful have been things like hand-washing programs, running water projects, toilet projects and the leadership camps.
The first thing we are both expected to do is actually nothing. We are under strict orders from the Peace Corps to sit and integrate. Don’t work on projects, don’t start trying to push an agenda, just sit and watch and listen and eventually, the projects will start to appear. This is a challenging order for people like Jason and I who are more active and involved than might be healthy.
For the sake of time on the internet and needing to go make dinner before the Halloween party tonight. Happy Halloween Everyone!! (It is Halloween here, as I’m writing this.)