Saturday, April 17, 2010


Due to circumst- ances not worth discussing here, the satellite Peace Corps office in Salelologa, Savai’i is expected to close sometime this Summer. But for now, it’s open in all of its convenient glory. Centrally located, it provides a small haven of air conditioning and dial-up Internet, and so after lunch Friday, Luisa and I headed over to kill a little bit of time while we waited for the school day to end so we could head to Phil’s house.

Opening the door to the satellite office involves a code and specific procedures, and for whatever reason, the mnemonic I use to remember this process ensures I remember incorrectly. I always think I remember the code, and I never do. Luckily, Dan 81 was already at the office, and he was able to open the door for us.

Dan was headed to Apia for the weekend to re-up on groceries and supplies. He noted how rare of a trip this was, and emphasized his embrace of the rugged Savai’ian lifestyle. “Up until yesterday, I hadn’t worn sandals in a week and a half,” he reported. “I’ve been wearing running shoes to work out, but other than that, I’ve been going around barefoot.”

He told a story about asking his boys which color Jandals he should buy. “They didn’t like blue, black, or green,” he said. “One kid said red was seki a, but then I asked another kid about yellow and he called it ‘gangsta.’ And then I knew I’d get yellow.”

After more conversation, Dan left to swim at Lusia’s. About 2 minutes after he walked out the door, Paul 81 walked in. He was headed out on the same boat.

“How’s school?” he asked. “How many students do you have this year?”

I told him my load this year is much lighter than the insanity of last year. Paul, who was also overloaded last year, looked a little sullen. “My schedule is as busy as it was last year.”

We talked shop for a while, comparing notes on disciplinary measures and classroom management, grading papers and issuing partial credit, correcting student’s English and maneuvering relationships with staff. We agreed that treating students as subordinates and sending them on feaus, errands and favors, has been useful in establishing our roles as authority figures deserving of respect.

Somewhere in there, Elisa came in and used the Internet. She was happy because the main office had sent word her guitar arrived in the mail.

Briony showed up. After a week on Savai’i working with the Ministry of Fisheries, she was headed back on the same boat as the others.

By then, it was time for the boat people to roll out and Luisa and me to catch a bus to Phil’s.

Nothing incredible happened, but it was nice to have a place to come together. It’ll be a shame to see the office go.

I hope you’re well. Pictures from the satellite office computer below.

Lili 82, Rachel 82, and Nate the Kiva volunteer.

Halle, who is an American studying abroad at the University of the South Pacific.


Unknown said...

If the Saleologa office is closing, will there be another Peace Corps office for volunteers on Savaii?

Amanda said...

Can you get me some yellow jandals? I'm pretty gangsta myself. Thanks.