Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cooks Bay - Towit Aid Post - Erromango - Vanuatu

The other day Peace Corps sent out the site placements to Vanuatu Group 29 trainees and I'm excited to announce that I will be the first volunteer in Towit. It is located on the eastern side of Erromango in Cook's Bay. There are two grass airstrips on the island, one road, and I'm not near any of it. I'll wait till I arrive to figure out how I get around, looks like I'm gonna be doing a lot of walking. I'm glad I brought my machete back from Malawi. 

My potential projects will be:
  • Assisting with capacity building for Health committee members
  • Assisting health workers with community health survey
  • Raising awareness and training to care for Disabled people in the community.
  • Community health education for men, women, youth and children to promote prevention strategies against:
    • NCDs (Noncommunicable Diseases)
    • WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) related diseases
    • Improved toilets and maintenance
    • Maternal child health
    • STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)
The amount of information about where I am going is minimal but I like it that way, more of an adventure in my mind. But let me tell you about this small world story:

We all get our site announcements and on the Vanuatu Group 29 Facebook page a current PCV posted a site roll call and we all put our sites up. Laura and Brian posted that they too will be on Erromango, on the other side of the jetty 'just North', 14+ mile hike, of me in Port Narvin. Well a couple days later Laura messages me that they currently live in...Austin! Crazy huh? Wait, hold my beer. Last night at my bar, Mort Subite, the only Belgian beer bar in Austin, I was talking to a couple and I brought up that I'm going into the Peace Corps, yada yada yada. They said they have friends doing the Peace Corps too - well here's the kicker its Laura and Brian. They are home-brewers that are doing a Belgian beer competition with the couple that came to my bar. Oh the people you meet!

I'll post at least one more time before I depart in 34 days.

Monday, February 13, 2017

60 days to Peace Corps Vanuatu

On April 14th I get on an airplane traveling from Austin, TX to Los Angeles, CA to being my second tour with the Peace Corps. In approximately a month I will know where I will be living for 2 years. The 83 island nation covers 4,706+ square miles between Fiji and Australia.

I decided that I needed to leave America back in May of 2016. I've been having internal struggles. What does it mean to be an American? What am I here to do? Why do I want to stay in one place for the rest of my life when there are so many places I've never seen? It's all about the money. That is our society. Work, work, work then retire and enjoy life. Who came up with that? I can't go along with that. That's why I'm taking a break from America.

Now that that is out of the way, back to business. So I'll arrive in Port Vila on April 18 and go thru 10 weeks of training then I'll move to my site where I'll work with my community to figure out what projects I'll be tackling over my 2 years.

The process the second time around has been very different than the first time, I guess many things change in 6 years. Each volunteer had to choose a category site they would be willing to live in.

From Peace Corps:
'All sites will offer their own unique challenges and no two sites will be the same. A Category 1 site could present as many challenges (unrelated to remoteness) to a PCV as Category 4 site.  The category breakdown below is merely a guide, but even within categories there will be variations between sites:
Category 1 - Potentially large communities, no electricity, and limited water in dry season, urban setting, and gender defined roles.
Category 2 - Isolation, no electricity, limited water in dry season, potentially large communities, and gender defined roles.
Category 3 - Remote, limited food variety, no running water, isolation, no electricity, gender defined roles.
Category 4 - Remote (must hike/walk distances to access other communities/Volunteers), isolation, strong customs, no electricity, limited phone service, gender defined roles, small communities, limited/unreliable flight schedule (on outer islands).'

I said I'd be willing to live in any category, but I prefer category 4. Since then we've had a PC phone conference with the country director and other staff. Category 4 seems as though there will be no electricity, running water, cell phone reception, and it takes many days to travel from PCHQ to site. I'd get to totally live off the grid. My excitement level is through the roof. My only worry is island fever. I've never experienced that but there is a first time for everything.

I'll post a couple more times before I leave and who knows when I'll get to post after that. I won't forget about you, I ask you do the same. Until next time.


Sunday, November 9, 2014

The journey continues

well tomorrow morning I continue west. I spent 3 solid days with my brother and had a wonderful time. We went to BW3s, grilled, smoked pork, took care of the farm, and spent quality time together. Dobby has had an amazing time. He got along beautifully with all the chickens, sheep, horses, and dogs. Tomorrow morning I will head to Chattanooga. From there you will have to keep reading to find out.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Deep in the heart of Virginia

So last nost I made it to my brothers house in Farmville, VA. We sat around around and talk them went to bed. Today we did dome errands than went for a walk with Dobby on the highest bridge in America, back in the day. We went for a walk an boy did I slice my face up big time on thrones growing in the wild. We tended to the chickens, sheep, and horses then proceeded to buffalo Wild wings for some delicious dinner delights. Now back to farm living till tomorrow.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Day of sights and sounds

Well this morning Dobby woke me up at 7. We went for a little walk and I decided that, even though I had some coffee it was too early to continue with the day outside at least. We bummed around and at 10 drove to Patterson Park. It's huge. But still not big enough to contain the adventurers. So we proceeded to walk through the projects and end up in downtown Baltimore. Visited Camden Yards and many other sites. Actually was asked to leave the hallowed grounds where Ripken played - no dogs allowed. I read the sign and even told the security guy. He said I had a good point, but it was implied. None the less, 7 miles later we arrived back at the car. Oh, I bought a delicious fresh-squeezed lemonade. Got back to the motel and Dobby took a super nap. At 5:30 met up with Renee for dinner at the Blue Hill Tavern and the proceeded to use the coolest "taxi" app ever, Uber. We got a ride over to the other side of Baltimore for a drink at a hipster bar then caught a show that's part of the Fringe Theatre Festival. It all ended taking another Uber taxi up a one way street, the wrong way and a drink at the Annabel Lee Tavern. Baltimore, you treated me well and Renee thanks for showing me around and sharing lots of laughs.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Apple core. Baltimore. Who's your friend?

So I made it to Baltimore. When I started out on my trip I decided not to take any highways/interstates. See a little of what America really is. It's been beautiful so far. Dobby and I stopped and had lunch in PA and continued on into Maryland. We checked into our hotel and then went for a much needed walk. I then ventured into downtown to meet up with one of my Peace Corps friends, Renee. We went out for dinner and drinks and reminisced about our times in Malawi. Tomorrow Dobby and I are going to explore more of the downtown. So stay tuned to our adventure.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Old Forge

Well I've made it to my first stop along the way, Old Forge, PA. The home to a longtime friend, Jay. I left Dalton at 12:45 and took every backroad until i arrived. I figure that I'm in no rush, so why should I travel fast. I arrived at 5:20 and was welcomed by Jay's dad and Lucy, the family's hyper dog. She was quickly introduced to Dobby and got a dose of her own medicine (she bosses around the family cat). Anyways Mrs. Malecki arrives home and after catching up on how awesome my final destination will be we went to dinner at a diner. Fish and chips followed by a small serving of rice and bread puddings, simply delicious. When we got back I fed Dobby, and I think I have found a wY for him to eat his whole dinner right away, have another dog there watching him, he thought Lucy was going to steal his food. I showed My photos of Malawi and have settled in for the night. Tomorrow I journey south to my next stop on my journey. I'll let you in on where I am then.