MJ Live

Friday, November 18, 2005

Back in the Fish Bowl (Written Nov 5 2005)

We are now starting part two of our trilogy stay in the village of Falevao. We got into the village during the late afternoon/early evening so we had plenty of time in Apia and little time in Falevao – a good balance for our first day back. We knew as soon as we crossed the border into Falevao that coconut wireless would announce our arrival and that our families would send someone to pick us up – we weren't disappointed. Within 10 mins of arriving and unloading the vans, Vili, Josh's brother, showed up and stood out in the rain waiting for Josh to leave. Within about 30 mins Andrews family drove up to the school and offered people rides to their home. Julya, Bryan, Candice, Charles and myself were the last trainees left and I guess because we did not show up at our houses soon after Andrew went home – we got the trifecta. First, Julya's little brothers showed up to escort Julya home. About 15 mins later Bryan's sister drove up and offered Julya and I a ride home. At that exact moment, Candice's brother showed up to walk her and Charles home. Now keep in mind this was all done without any of us telling our families that we were back – coconut wireless is an amazing phenomenon. Also, for those who thought we were safe from the eyes of Falevao while in Apia – you would be mistaken. I was reminded that I saw Bryan's sister in MoaMoa (the village where Chanel College is located) while walking back to Apia. I saw one of Bryan's brothers in Apia while I was waiting for the bus at the fish market and somehow my family knew that Julya and two other volunteers went to Savaii even though no one told them. The eyes of the village are widespread and many in numbers. As Bryan put it, "We went from the aquarium back to the fish bowl". So how was the first day back with the family? Not as much of a shocker as it was the first day I was here. Since I know many of my family members name and I'm no longer "new car smell" fresh the attention I am getting is significantly less. Today I didn't feel like a rockstar, I just felt like a family member who has been away a while and that's an infinitely better feeling. A lot of the current volunteers said our second trip would be better then our first because the attention will be less and the culture shock will be more bearable – I think they may be right. While understanding the language is still hard, they know we're trying and, at least for me, slow down their speech so I can understand what they're saying. The one thing that was different between my first and second trip was my room. While I didn't switch room, the layout of the room definitely changed – luckily I took pics from both visits. The color scheme changed from green to red, they moved the bed and desk and added pics of Iesu (Jesus) to the room – it was quite a surprise to me. And I spent the majority of the day playing with Satuala – just rough housing a bit. He definitely reminds me of my cousin Elijah and that was a welcome treat and difference from my first day here last time. I'm starting to feel like a part of the family instead of just an honored guest – one step at a time. I'm not going to make any broad statements but here's hoping the second part is better then the original. On a side note, a lot of people (from trainees to current volunteers) within PC have commented on how good a group we are – usually there's a problem with one or two people in the group but we all get along for the most part (everyone needs their own space now and again) and there has yet to be a serious hint that one of us wants to quit and go home. As we like to say, it took them 75 groups to get the right one! Group 76 is going to have a lot to live up to because starting on Monday we start week 5 of training – hump week – and if we can survive that in one piece we all may make it to the finish line.

It was also brought to my attention that I made no mention of the White Sox winning the World Series. Sorry, that took place during our first village stay and as you read we had quite a week. So I would like to congratulate the boys from the South Side for winning the big one when no one expected it. To bad I had to leave the country for it to happen. Now if only the Cubs could get their act together they'll no longer be the second-class franchise in Chicago. J Anyway, that's it for day one of village stay two – L8r.

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