I brought up this mental list 2 weeks ago when Yukiura, the Senior JICA (Japanese International Cooperation Agency) working with Samoa’s Ministry of Education, emailed me last week to ask if I’d present at the Computer Studies teachers meeting. He was looking for a Peace Corps to present the Peace Corps textbook volunteers have been putting together and editing and re-editing over the past 6 years. I agreed, and then immediately emailed Sara for some guidance.
I attended a couple textbook committee meetings during term 1 last year, and I assembled a draft of the Spreadsheet chapter, but after a certain point last year, Sara and Ryan were appointed to compile the materials and unify the layout. And I’ve been out of the loop since then.
Sara replied quickly with a bunch of helpful instructions on what I should talk about and how the textbook materials are organized. This was about 2 weeks ago, and I hadn’t given any more time or thought to the presentation until around midnight Tuesday when I realized I should probably put together materials for Wednesday’s presentation.
As I waded through the material and became more familiar, I began to feel like this presentation was a slightly bigger moment. The Peace Corps has been teaching computers in Samoa for 9 years, and all of the collective information that’s been passed down and perhaps the only tangible thing we’ll all leave behind are these teaching materials and textbook. And I suddenly realized this presentation was, in a way, the culmination of years of work of past PCVs. So there was some pressure.
Yet if this was the case, MESC’s setup already played down the moment. They’d scheduled me for late in the morning on the second day after they presented textbook materials they’d developed themselves. So with no fanfare, after tea and kekesaina on Thursday morning (“Surprise! We moved your presentation to tomorrow,” they told me.), I got up and presented the Peace Corps textbook and teaching materials.
I emphasized this was Peace Corps’s last year teaching computers—I searched for relief and/or glee on the faces around the room, but was happy when I saw none. I emphasized the blood, sweat, and tears many volunteers had put into it. And then I was done.
Yukiura thanked me for presenting, and the other PCVs who were at the meeting hooted and hollered as we Americans are prone to do. Every school received a copy of the textbook and teaching materials on DVD.
The Acknowledgement section calls out the following PCVs: Michael 71(?), Marques 75(?), Dylan 77, Meghan 77, Cale 79, Matt 79, Ryan 79, Sara 79, and me. Computer-wise, aside from our current classes, I guess our work here is done.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
Phil gives an impromptu lesson in Photoshop.
Me presenting. Blah blah blah.
The lady who came to speak about MESC's new SchoolNet project was the spitting image of my supervisor Adrianne at eCivis. It was creepy.