Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Last Chance Cafe

Actually, it's the Natangura Cafe in Luganville, Santo, but it represents my last chance to post the pictures. I return to Ambae today at lunch time, just in time to meet three volunteers from Maewo who will be staying with me for a few days before heading off to other places.

My presentation to the upper eschelon of kindy (pre-school) administration is done, for better or worse. It is always difficult to plan a workshop/presentation when you know it is a topic they have heard at least once before but you have no idea what activities or what materials they already have. Fred, the kindy cooridnator for Penama was pleased with what I had prepared but when it came time for the actual presentation, most of the attendees were having a difficult time staying awake. The session did take place right after lunch so maybe everyone was fighting that natural after-dinner snooze, but the ladies and gentlemen from Vanuatu did not enjoy their lunch of spaghetti with meat sauce so I don't know how full they actually were. I don't know what the explanation is and I haven't had the courage to ask. There were several positive comments about activities and the phonics review so I'll have to hang my reputation on those and a heavy lunch. ;)

Mom told me that lots of people have been asking what Mai will be doing while I'm in the states. She will be staying with my host family for that time, going to the garden, eating lots of chicken bones, and getting spoiled by my host mother. People in Vanuatu have a very different perspective toward dogs. Here dogs are like any other farm animal without the usefulness. Their only real purpose in Vanuatu is to run pigs and to eat the garbage, compounded by the fact that there are no population control measures for the dogs and cats. "Pets" are a luxury that most people here can not afford yet and everybody has a dog and cat living around their house whether they want them or not just because of the constant supply of puppies. However, my host family treats Mai very well. My host mom taught her to "karem i kam" (bring) which is very helpful since Mai has developed the habit of running off with one of my shoes when she thinks it's time to leave. And I even spotted my host father petting her the other day. She's still pretty leery of my host brothers but they're not quite sure what to do with her either so it's reciprocal.

I'm sorry this is such a mediocre post. The pictures refuse to load and they were going to be my theme. I'll be home mid-December though, so I should be able to do it then. Look for the pictures next time.

Time to go--my taxi will be here soon.
Bon karea

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Luganville, Santo

I had the opportunity to come to Luganville to do part of a workshop/conference for the provincial kindy (pre-school)coordinators of Vanuatu. There are six provinces so six coordinators plus 4 women from the central office in Vila. The conference will last all week; I only get one afternoon. Tomorrow afternoon, I will be doing a very brief presentation on literacy activities for kindy classes with an emphasis on phonics. I spent most of last week trying to translate all of the material into Bislama and then Fred and I (Fred is the coordinator for Penama province) spent all of Friday making corrections to my Bislama. I spent part of my day with my host family writing down a custom story in the language of East Ambae, dictated by my host father and will spend this evening turning that story into a book made with cardboard boxes. It's so nice to have a project!

I arrived in Santo this morning, without a ticket (the Ambae airport had run out of paper tickets), unsure of where the conference was being held, without a specific date for my presentation (Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon?), and without a copy of my plans (the office printer/copier is broken so Fred had to carry a digital version to Santo early to print and make copies). However, I now have an . . . OK place to stay and a semi-definite presentation time. Progress.

Luganville is much smaller than Vila and most of the shops were closed for lunch when I started walking around but other volunteers have told me that you can still get a lot of things here--faux cheese, pasta, canned vegetables, etc. The really nice part is that you can arrange to have one of the stores here send you groceries via cargo ship without having to come in person. I'm hoping to get the details about that while I'm here. When things are sent from Santo, it's same-day delivery too! (i.e. the cargo arrives the same day that the ship leaves, not the same day you buy or order supplies)

I don't have a lot of new pictures but I do have some from the Tanna trip that are pretty great. I will try to get those posted while I'm here.

Bon Karea