Friday, October 27, 2006

Yumi wan bigfella family!

Friday, July 7th, 2006

Tomorrow we're going to visit our host families for the entire day. Everyone except for me is excited about this. I'm not, because I completely lack the ability to make small talk, and there's no way I can effectively do it in Bislama. I'm also not looking forward to another 6 am day.

The truth is, out of everyone in my group, I was absolutely terrified to meet and spend time with my host family. For most of the participants, the entire first week was spent speculating what our host families would be like.

On Wednesday, most of our families came to the worksite to meet us for the first time. When I met Kathy, I was absolutely filthy and sweaty. It was around noon, and the heat was blistering. "Mi happi tumas to meet yu!" I told her. I didn't know what to say. Small talk is definitely not my fortay. It was obvious that English wasn't her strength either, and while the other families stood around chatting and eagerly acquainting themselves with one another, Kathy and I stood there awkwardly, not sure what to say to one another.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Volunteering in Vanuatu: This is How We Get By

A lot of people have been asking me what we did in our free time.

Personally, I wrote a LOT of lists. Here's an example from my journal:

Tuesday, July 4th, 2006, noon

It's only noon, and there's the distinct possibility I might die. We spent the morning sifting sand from coral, and stacking cinder blocks (728, to be exact) before lifting a rebar structure into a trench. All this in the blistering heat. It's probably about +35 in the sun, and I'm burning. Well, at least I think I am, but I can't quite tell because I'm coated in dirt. Samuel, Jo and Morsen are all having power naps around me right now [ED: Its amazing how quickly you become accustomed to falling asleep on a concrete floor in the middle of the afternoon, while surrounded by other people, in 5 seconds or less.] and a chicken keeps wandering through the kitchen. Also, the rats kept waking me up last night. I might die, but my life is hilarious. Also, Jo pooed. It was a glorious moment.

Wan Bigfella Fundraiser!

Thanks Ryan. I owe you a beer. (Again. In fact, at this point, I owe you an entire night at the Strat.)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nicole vs. the Rats: Vermin in Vanuatu Part 1

We had been living in our new home, nestled in the heart of Lambubu, for less than two nights when we discovered that we weren't the only residents.

"RATS?!" squealed Nicole when we discovered that rats had stolen someone's malaria tablets and stuffed them into Dave's guitar, "We have rats?! Ewwww!"

Nicole, in my opinion, was hands-down the most interesting character in our group. Even at the end of our project, I think everyone was still somewhat mystified and confused by Nicole's decision to join the YCI program, because prior to leaving for Vanuatu, Nicole had never been camping. Not even for one night.*

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Spiders and sharks and centipedes- oh my! Vermin in Vanuatu Part 2

It happened one night when Becca and I were starting in our on third helping of dinner, which was, of course, rice.

We had started cooking over the fire that week, after Tara's sinus infection made cooking with kerosene difficult and insufferable, the fumes causing her to cough harshly. Collecting firewood after work had become a new daily chore, and most of the time we'd only have to walk down the road for about five feet before the community members, with their ingrained knowledge of our every want and need, would send their children to us, their outstretched, eager, little arms burdened with dry sticks and logs. Most nights, we'd also gather kindling and twigs from the surrounding lots.

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