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.

10/19 followup

Hi All,

We had 7 of us show up to play today and it was gorgeous down at Como. A special welcome to the 3 first timers, Steve, Jonah, and Mercedes. I hope you come back and play uke with us again.

We're talking seriously about doing a gig at an assisted living home, the first thing is to get a short repertoire of songs together. Easy songs that we can learn and play together and that residents can sing along with would be best. Please help come up with some ideas.

I'll post a date for our next meeting soon, I'll shoot for pre-Thanksgiving which will hopefully give us a shot at another meeting before Xmas as well.

I received an email from Paul in Samoa last night, I wish I'd seen it before our meeting today so I could share it. I'll put in a separate blog entry for it.

Until next time, keep StrumMn! And come up with songs for our new "gig"!


Monday, October 13, 2008

Next meetng, Sunday 10/19!

Sorry for the short notice.
Let's try for Sunday the 19th, 2-5pm, Como (Black Bear Crossing Cafe).

David sent me a couple songs and I uploaded them to my web storage, hopefully you can get to them.

If you said you wanted a StrumMn shirt, I'll have it on Sunday.

If you have more songs for us leave a comment with a link or email it to me.

If you are looking for songs to play, check this out:

Hope to see you on Sunday!