Sunday, October 19, 2008

A note from Paul in Samoa with the Peace Corps

Malo to all,

Well I finally had a chance to sit down with my computer. The past week has been the busiest week of my life, as well as one of the best weeks. Add in the preparation to the endeavor and that makes the busiest month of my life. Thank you to all who helped me in the process and also for supporting me in my Samoan Peace Corps adventure.

PC Samoa (Group 81) consists of 13 members. Nine males and four females coming from all over the states two representing MN. Go MN! We all get along very well and have become very close in such a short time. I have two roommates. Joey from Iowa and Igor from Mass. Our group is training to become teachers. Mostly computer instructors, a few special needs teachers, construction and PC Samoa’s first automotive service instructor. There are a lot of cars here and a great need for auto service skills. People seem to be pretty excited about having an auto service instructor. Oh yeah, mechanics are called engineers here. I have already made one car repair to our medical officer (MO) ‘s Honda that wouldn’t start. So I’m feeling good about the whole auto situation here.

Most of our time has been spent in language and culture training. We also have a lot of medical and safety classes. Training is going well so far. The language is definitely the toughest part. Our safety classes have been the most fun so far. One afternoon was devoted to water safety, which included a boat ride to a far coral reef where we snorkeled for a couple hours and another afternoon was devoted to beach safety, which also included a few hours of snorkeling. Already about four hours of snorkeling, can’t complain about that. The entire island (Upolu) is surrounded by coral barrier reef. Which is beautiful. It’s amazing all the ocean life I have seen in just four hours.

The rest of the island is beautiful. Green foliage, bright colored flowers everywhere, several mountains and great views from every angle. Tons of cars, a lot of cats and dogs, glass bottled Coca-Cola, and the fish market (my favorite place to eat). We’ve been staying in the Apia (capital city) Central Hotel. Nice place, very nice employees, as well as the Samoan people in general are extremely kind and respectful. Making it much easier to warm up to life here.

The entire process of the PC training is really impressive. It makes me feel even better about my choice. So much valuable information and great instructors, I feel so fortunate to have this opportunity.

We have two current PC volunteers (PCV) helping with the training process, Dylan and Laura. They have been such a great source of information; they are also a lot of fun. They have brought us out to some of the local entertainment sites and also have introduced us to a lot of other volunteers in Samoa (40 total in Samoa). Haven’t met all of them yet though. I met Eric who I contacted before leaving to Samoa and thanked him for his advice on bringing a guitar here. I’m glad I did, otherwise I would be bumming. He was even nice enough to give me an hour long guitar lesson (very cool) It’s nice to be around so many nice and talented people who are eager to share their knowledge. I’ve already learned a lot of computer related knowledge from all the IT people here. Hopefully they will help me set up my blog. Which will most hopefully be up pretty soon, but no promises.

This Saturday group 81 heads to Fausaga, a village on the south side of the island for a week’s stay with individual host families, which should be really interesting. It’ll be fun to see how village life is for families. Our trainers have been preparing us for village life. Yesterday we had a lesson on how to take a bucket shower, due to the lack of running water in some homes.

Well that’s about it for me. I could tell you so much more, but that’s it for now. You probably won’t hear from me for at least a week. The village definitely won’t have internet access. If you have some time please drop me a line, via e-mail of course, it’s nice to hear from all of you and it’s also nice to hear about what’s going on with the presidential election. Everybody here has been pretty involved with the election so far and is always excited to hear about any news, although my short wave radio has come in pretty handy for that. Anyways thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon.

Tofa, Paulo

P.S. My Samoan name is Paulo, yeah it was a big change.


Anonymous said...

I tried to look for an E-mail address or something to get a hold of someone in this group, but I couldn't find one. I'm interested in hiring one of the players for my wedding. I can't find ukulele players anywhere! I'm interested in someone who plays ukulele, baritone ukulele, and hopefully guitar. Please E-mail me at

Anonymous said...

hi - was looking for samoan uke chords and paul's note popped up in the google search. i was in group 50 teaching vocational ed at don bosco/alafua. pass along my greetings to paul - tell him to drop me a line, especially when he learns to play "oka oka la'u hani"


Anonymous said...

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