So, the big news of this visit to Vila.
We’re extending our contracts in Vanuatu. We’ve applied for a year extension to work in Vila. The details are still being worked out, but here is what we know:
Jason will be working at the Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT). He’ll be working with their IT department to implement their server, clean up the network, re-wire the campus, train the lower level techs up to a higher level and do some server maintenance and upgrades. This is way more up his alley than what he has been doing. He’ll have fancy toys and networks to play with as well as other people already interested and working in networking. He is already getting excited for it, though he has a few more months of teaching kids to double click first.
If all goes well, I will be working at Wan Smol Bag, which is a social justice theater, STI clinic and youth center. Officially, I’ll be under the peer educator program in the STI clinic, because that is how I can fit into the framework for Peace Corps. If I get my way, I will be able to do some work with the peer educators, some work with the youth center sports program and maybe a bit of theater or cooking classes. Really, I’m excited for the chance to see how this organization runs. They are doing a lot of what I want to do around social justice and social messaging.
We will likely be moving into Vila in October/November. We’ll take a month or so to get our feet on the ground here and feel out our jobs as well as help train the new group of PCVs. As extendees, we get a Peace Corps paid trip home for a month, which we’ll try to time to happen over Christmas. That’s right, Christmas and New Years will be Stateside and then back to Vanuatu in January for another year.
A lot of things have played into this decision. A few factors include: no pressing reason to go home, though we have lovely and wonderful friends that we miss, we know all of you will still be there in a year. We have no job prospects and I still don’t know what I want to do for school or not after this. Jason has put off school this long, one more year won’t matter that much more. Most importantly, we don’t feel like we’ve gotten what we want out of this experience. It has been a great experience, but there is still something missing. I hope that part of what has been missing will be fulfilled for Jason by working with people who already know something about computers and fulfilled for me by working in the arts.
We will be back in the US for a little over a month and we want to coordinate to see as many people as possible in that time. If you live somewhere by our extended families, we should try to do lunch at least. If you live further away, consider a trip to lovely Minnesota for a white Christmas. We want to see you!
All of these plans are pretty conditional right now. We are waiting to hear more details from Wan Smol Bag and VIT about start times and job descriptions. We are waiting to hear from Peace Corps about training the new group and moving into Vila. We are waiting to hear from our project managers to see if they will grant our extensions. We are waiting on a lot of things. When we have better details, we’ll let you all know.