Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Started school

So I started my second week of school this week, working on the literacy project. It's been an interesting challenge and has taught me as much about language acquisition and linguistics as all my linguistics and langauge courses in college. It's really amazed me how much context and content knowledge affects a student's ability to acquire new vocabulary. The best example is the word 'ghetto'. It was in an article we read, and the students, all Samoan, didn't know it. I used the example of World War II and the Jewish ghetto's, but they hadn't learned about that either. This caused me to realize that there is no word in Samoan for ghetto, because a ghetto is something that, due to the culture here, really can't exist. I'm now working on expanding these students' backgrounds in multi-cultural knowledge and some history so that we can continue expanding vocabulary and reading level. So far, this has been a learning experience of the highest degree. I didn't envision this, but I'm enjoying the challenge of it a great deal!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New job!

So after my problem with my first school here in Samoa, I have had the chance to take on a new assignment in the schools. In Samoa, they are working on a literacy program, because they've found that english literacy among Samoan students has been in decline the last three years. One of the schools has a program in place to work with students in need of reading and writing help, and they are at a point where they want to run the program and do research on the results over a two year period. The results would inform both this school and other schools in the system about how to set up and focus a literacy program for high school aged students. It's exciting, because it feels like something that would have a lasting effect and would allow the schools to have a framework to approach their individual needs. I'm also still working with the Samoan AIDS Foundation, and have focused on the "Safe Games" initiative, where HIV/AIDS education is highlighted during the South Pacific Games. It's the most high profile event and it has a regional scope. The program went well at the last SPGs, so we're hoping to build on that momentum here in Samoa in Sept. 2007. Good stuff all around in spite of the frustrations!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

January

Well, it's been a hell of a month so far. Peace Corps is definately not easy at all, but I'm finding ways to make this work for me. I'll be contacting the Samoa AIDS Foundation, because I'm told they're in need of people with planning and program implementation experience, which is right up my alley. I also got some clothes made for the start of work, where ever and whenever that might be. I got a much needed hair cut as well. The weather has been rainy, as to be expected in the South Pacific during rainy season. I've just been trying to get myself centered here and make sure that I get the most out of my time here-appearently time flies once you get going with things in the Peace Corps. Other then that, not much news, just the usual day to day things of getting oriented and finding my place here.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Weekend

Well, Christmas has come and gone. It's Boxing Day here in Samoa, where you put all your goods back and get ready for the new year. I had a nice Christmas, talked to Aubrey and the parents and hung out with Candice and Ryan. We had pizza and watched movies and enjoyed the Christmas spirit.
So now I'm looking forward to the new year and getting things underway here. I have a few options to explore in January before my primary job at the school starts. I also think I'll be doing some surfing and travelling to the other island. Having time on my hands leaves a lot of flexibility for the next five weeks.
Christmas here was quiet. Most families have a celebration during the day, drink a lot and go to Church. Christmas is less a day and more of a week-long thing for Samoans. I'll be heading out to the village soon to visit my host family and see how they're doing. Some other volunteers were out there, so I'm excited to see my host family as well. More to come later.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I have a blog...sweet

So I have a blog now. I never thought this would happen in my wildest dreams. So now I have a medium for everyone to get the news on my life here in Samoa. So at the moment, there's not much going on. I moved into my house and it's nice. Lots of fruit trees and the like in the front yard, close to town, clean with a washing machine! Also I went out surfing the other day. The surf in Samoa is far from tame. We were in 6-8 foot surf next to a huge rock point. The view was spectacular, especially because we could see the waves hit the rocks and explode on them as they rolled toward us. The power of the ocean is something to be admired, especially when you're floating on a piece of foam and fiber glass with waves rolling past you big enough to drag away a couple of full size SUVs. It was impressive to say the least.
I'll add more soon, expecially as January starts and we get ready to start work. I'll be at a training center called Don Bosco working with carpentry teachers. I'm looking forward to it!