The month of July was a flurry of celebration and fun. My best friend from childhood, Patrick, came to visit at the beginning. We spent an entire week getting plunging head first into adventurous mischief. We hiked waterfalls, got tumbled by surf, and jumped from cliffs. It was unfortunate he had to leave the day of our Embassy’s Independence day celebration. Volunteers, Embassy staff, and distinguished guests flocked to the Charge D’affairs’ home for not only her final farewell, but to celebrate the Independence of the United States of America. The night was an absolute blast! After the speeches a band began to play. There was dancing of all sorts and even a guest singer, our very own volunteer Josh!
This month I have also began to dabble in a new sport. For those who know me, know I somehow seem to excel at unique sports such as wrestling and rugby. I decided to pick up a stick and take my awkward talents to the field hockey pitch. Another volunteer, Meagen, started a team in her village and asked me to play. I couldn’t come up with a good reason to turn her down, so I am now running around dodging balls and hitting the dirt with candy cane. In honesty I rather enjoy field hockey.
Last year we recognized that 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps in Samoa. Being a significant milestone we wanted to make sure it was celebrated accordingly. A crack team of volunteers and staff were assembled to begin preparations. Fast forward past months of meetings, logistics, and hair pulling (AHHH I’M NOW BALD!) we were finally able to kick off our event. Over 40 past volunteers spanning from the early 60’s to as early as several years ago showed up to take part in the festivities. It was wonderful getting to know these individuals and hear their stories. Peace Corps has certainly left its mark on the communities in which it has served. Before I move any further I have to express a great thanks to the staff and other volunteers who helped make this event happen. I was privileged to have opportunity to have a hand in the planning. I was in awe and shock of all the previous volunteers and I must express an exceedingly amount of gratitude for their part in shaping what the word Pisikoa has come to mean.
On Friday July 28th the official party took place at Charge D’affaires’ residence. We had spent days setting up the decorations and gallery walks. (Pictures spread to canvas of current and past volunteers) It was quite a view to behold. When people arrived to the residence they were instantly welcomed by reminders of Peace Corp’s commitment to the Samoan people. Speeches were made by a representative of all groups: current volunteers, past volunteers, the Peace Corps Country Director, the Minister of Education, and Scott Brown the ambassador to Samoa. Dances were conducted by both the current men and women volunteers. The men’s was the powerful Siva Tau like the Maori’s Haka, while the women’s was full of grace and beauty. After the show we opened the dance floor like on July 4th and cut a rug. The event was a major success. It has been a week and all the news outlets are still covering the grand event. (This is the reason keep screaming my part from the Siva Tau)
Note: The morning of the event we walked the streets of Apia and conducted a parade wearing our swanky new commemorative t-shirts.
Celebration continued: I did have co-captain speaking part in the siva tau.
The rest of the month was an absolute blur. I was busy teaching and preparing for the 50th anniversary event. Below you will find a conglomeration of random pictures. The beautiful night sky was taken by my friend Dave in Savai’i. I liked it so much I thought it deserved to be shared.
Church is never boring with these little munchkins running around. There is always an abundance of small children running from pew to pew during prayer. I can’t help but smile when they coming running over to me.
School is home and home is school! Random bits from the month.
Recently I met a new friend named Evan. He and his family live several villages away, but are always kind enough to give me rides home when I am in town. One such ride home we stopped to fix his car at friend of his’ house. We talked away the afternoon waiting on the mechanic to arrive and happened by this shot of clothes on the line.