We've got lots of fun and interesting stuff going on on Savaii this month!
From the Samoan Observer:
Teachers of the Palauli school district on Savai’i are today better
equipped to establish and run a school library.This is a result of a workshop at
Sili Primary Schoo organised by District School Review Officer (SRO) Masoe
Tufuga Tovia. United States Peace Corps volunteer, Elizabeth Gartley (who is
based in Sili), and Sili Primary School principal Mataafa Telenise.
Teachers from each primary school in the district were in attendance:
Apaula Tito of Gataivai Primary School, Fualole Isaia of Ga’utavai Primary
School, Anarosa Pio of Palauli Primary School, Nafu Aiolupo of Puleia Primary
School, Moana Alafai of Satupa’itea Primary School, and Teuila Iupati of Tafua
Primary School as well as Olevia Sia’a representing Sili Primary School.
“This training is part of our goal to provide quality education,” said Mr.
Miss Gartley, a Peace Corps volunteer, led the workshop.
The training included topics such as preparing a library room, how to secure
funding and book donations, organising the library and bookshelves, school
library management, integrating the school library with form classes and
techniques to introducing students of all ages into the school library.
“There are so many more things I now know about organising the library
books and so on,” said Mrs. Fualole Isaia.
From left to right: Nafu Aiolupo, Apaulu Tito, Olevia Sia’a, Fualole Isaia, Anarosa Pio, Moana Alafai, Teuila Iupata, Elizabeth Gartley, and Masoe Tufuga Tovia.
And I've been helping with a seminar "roadshow" traveling to villages around Savaii in an effort to spread the word on healthy lifestyles and prevention of non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. You can read more about that here.
I recently received four boxes of books for our school library from my hometown of Houlton, Maine.
Since I have a number of Mormon students and there is a Baha'i community in my district - and because I believe in basic human rights - I thought I'd try to instill some ideals of religious tolerance in my students.
I also recently had a chance to visit the Baha'i House of Worship on Upolu. The grounds were beautiful and peaceful, and the temple was gorgeous too. I had a chance to speak with some of the Baha'i community leaders, and they were really interesting and, of course, eager to give me resources to help with my classes. My photos of the temple here.
I'm traveling home for the holidays. As I type this, I'm sitting in LAX waiting for my connecting flight. This is my first time in the United States in about a year and a half. In some ways it feels like a homecoming, in other ways I feel like a foreigner. I'm a little afraid I might forget how to speak English and saying, "Fia le tau?" or "Faamolemole" or "Fia ai" or any other of my most frequently used Samoan phrases.
Yesterday I took part in a volunteer panel on working in Samoan primary schools for our new group of trainees. Apparently, the session was viewed as kind of a "downer." I swear I thought I was being really upbeat! I'm really happy where I am: I love my school and kids, love my village, love my host family. Of course, I have days I want to scream and pull my hair out - but that would be the case anywhere (right?).
I guess after a while, as volunteers we become so accustomed to things that may have once been shocking or frustrating, it just no longer registers as such - it's just life.