Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In the village of Tufutafoe, Savaii, Western Samoa (In the Peace Corps)

This is my house. It's called a faleo'o.… Let my previous blog entry show the probable regularity of me posting. Here is the rundown. I am in the Peace Corps in Western Samoa. I live in Tufutafoe Savaii on the Falealupo peninsula. I have heard that the westerly most point of the peninsula (probably about a kilometer west of my house) is the westerly most chunk of land in the world (!!!). Yes, if you travel any further west you will be met by acid spewing people-hungry Leviathon Eels that are actually there to protect you from the less fortunate fate of tumbling off the edge of the earth.
I have been in this village for 2 months, and in Samoa for 5 months. We (the original 13 of us in my group) went through 3 months of language and cultural training before separating and being distributed to villages throughout both of Samoa’s 2 islands. So the language. I fluctuate between cheersing myself for being so great at the language in such a short amount of time and crying in defeated self-pity because I am such a language retard. Needless to say, it’s hard to learn a totally new language. And, Samoan has no roots in the foreign German and French I know a little about. It’s all new: think Hawaiian words like “Hawaii”, “Mahi Mahi”, and “Aloha”. My family speaks basically no English and this area of Savaii is quite remote, so there are few English speakers in the village. I will have to get better if I want to accomplish anything, or survive for that matter.

I am here to do WATER SANITATION work. There is not a piped water system. Water needs are satisfied by rainwater harvesting: catchment systems, gutters, and tanks. Water is a precious resource, as the whole peninsula, plus some, falls in a rain shadow as a result of the easterly mountains (amongst other geographical factors). The village really wants supplemental water tanks. I will spend the next few years tackling that, and other stuffs the village is concerned with. It looks like I will be doing some grant writing, teaching, workshop facilitation, bandaid and asprin distribution, etc.

That’s all for now.

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