Are you Peace Corps?
“Excuse me are you a Peace Corps Volunteer?” I was asked as I was walking out the door with my bicycle helmet, and just stopped. It is very rare that a while person asks that of me. This is probably because most of the palagis are from Australia and New Zealand, and have never heard of the organization, just as most Americans have never heard of AYAD, Australia’s volunteering program.
She explained that she had heard bits of my conversation, and made the assumption. I had an impromptu meeting with someone about doing the Samoa Health Challenge III in their village. While we were talking, )and I braved down a cup of coffee to be polite-I have gotten used to eating and drinking many things, but sardines, canned corned beef and coffee are not on that list….) we talked about my busy morning. I had already gone to my school to collect the remaining items before the walls came crumbling down, then biked over to the meeting. After I was to head to the college to talk to the teachers about their athletics program, and then to another primary school to help with their computers. After there, I was to head back to our new school office to help set up the computer and electronics. Then, I had training with some of the teenagers at the college.
I was so caught off guard, when she asked what I was doing in my village. How do I begin? I mean I feel like I am always doing so much, but when I explain it to people it doesn’t sound like anything but hanging out and having fun (which in some ways is completely true, but aren’t you supposed to enjoy your work?). Her tax dollars are helping to support me over here, and I wanted to sound legit. So I told her about teaching, and our new school building, and invited her to see the new classrooms spread throughout the village. But drew a blank after that.
After setting up my exercise session with a girl who is concerned about getting diabetes (something very rare in Samoa), I left for the rest of my busy day. I began thinking as I was holding my pulatasi in place as I was biking to my next destination, it is a good thing I am keeping this blog, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to explain to everyone when I get home, what I actually accomplished here. I think people will expect to hear a little more than, “I made a lot of Samoan friends, that I became so close with that I felt a part of their families.” They might want to think I did some work during the two plus years they did not see me.