7-31 Scheduling Vanuatu Style: A Practical Look

It was a damp kind of week
Every year, Peace Corps is required to send a staff person out to every site. The idea is to talk to the community about any issues with the volunteer, talk to the volunteer about any issues with the community and potential address them and to get a “real” impression of what the volunteer is doing. (“Real” as opposed to what the volunteer is saying.) The more accessible sites often have multiple a year as staff transits between other sites or other events while the more remote sites might have just two their entire service.
We had our first visit in June. Our Safety and Security Officer (SSO), Relvie, came out to Pentecost. The original plan had our Assistant Country Director coming out. She served as a volunteer in Melsisi three volunteers before Jason and still has a lot of connections there. She was too busy, so they decided to send her assistant instead, but a week before she was going to leave, they changed it to the SSO due to the number of issues we’ve been having on Pentecost.
Her trip fit the Vanuatu scheduling mold. Everything fell apart and it all worked out anyway.
Relvie and kids from Londar/Wanur in the south

Her schedule was something like this: fly in Monday morning, catch a truck to Melsisi, walk to Labati (about 2 hours), spend the night. Tuesday afternoon walk back to Melsisi, talk to Jason’s principal and spend the night in Melsisi. Wednesday walk to Vansemakul and spend the day with my community and the night there. Thursday walk or catch a truck down to Waterfall for a court case and go back to Vansemakul to sleep. Friday take a truck down to Pangi and fly out Saturday morning.
Of course, this schedule is way too tight for Vanuatu and everything went hay wire. It had been raining for three days, which made the walk up to Labati rough. Once they got up, it downpoured and she got stuck. She came down in the mud on Wednesday and talked to Jason’s principal then we caught a truck over to Vansemakul. The court case got postponed but she got a call from a volunteer asking her to come further south. So, we went south to Londar on Friday and then back north to Pangi on Saturday. We stayed the weekend in Pangi helping a volunteer pack up to change sites and she fly out on Monday.
Most of the original plan just fell apart, but things all worked out. That is the way life works out here. Stay flexible and roll with it or as they say here, “Bae yumi jas luk…” (We’ll see…)

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