Sunday, February 22, 2004

New Photo Galleries!

This is a message from your friendly neighborhood webmaster:

On the left-hand side, there is a new "Photo Galleries" section. Clicking on the links will take you to an individual photo gallery. If you have any issues or problems viewing the photos, please leave a comment on this post or email me.

Friday, February 20, 2004

I'm really a volunteer now

I've now been officially working at my school with the students for three whole weeks. It's been a whirlwind of an experience full of frustration, confusion, and laughter. My pule (samoan word for supervisor) has taken me to a gazillion meetings around town. I've met some very important influential people including the board that funds our school. It's been a time for just a lot of observation. I'm trying very hard to fight the urge to just jump in and change a million things. I know I must establish rapport first with the other teachers, staff, and the board. Today I met the PTA. It was interesting to see the parents and how concerned they are for their children's welfare. Today, at the meeting a parent, who is from Australia and just in Samoa for a six month vacation, donated 10,000 tala for computers to the school. It was a great PTA meeting! But I know the school still needs so much more than just computers. Yet, I want to see first, how the parents and teachers want to work on improving the school before I make my own ideas known.
As for other recent happenings...I've joined a long boat racing team. I went for the first time last Wednesday and am going again tonight. We practice M-W-F. It's an amazing work-out and a great opportunity to meet Samoans. Hopefully, in my next set of pics I'll have some photos of what I'm talking about. In fact, I need to head to practice now.
Oh, and one more thing. Jacque, Mike J, and Aunt Sharon-- I've recieved your packages and they are more than I ever could have hoped for. Now, I have lots of nice smelling things, music, and sugar free gum. The tuna and zone bars were also very nice, of which I will devour very quickly. Thank you for caring so much about me. Oh, and if the post office tries to insist that you need to put a zip code on any mail that you are sending, tell them "no!" It will go to American Samoa and then I won't get my mail. Insist on using the address I gave you.
Fa Soifua (bye and good health)

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Sa amata le 'Aoga (School Started)

So I've just about finished my first week of real work here in Samoa. The children started school this week and Wow!....I've got my work cut out for me at this school. The teachers have been very welcolming and I'm growing to love my students already. It's a small school for Special Needs kids. On staff, there's the Principal, 5 teachers, the cook, the driver, and me. On any given day we have anywhere from 16 to 25 students. I'm teaching computers using one very old 486 with Windows 95. At this point I'm only teaching what the parts of the computer are and how to point and click. Eventually though, I know I'm going to need to get a new computer that has a CD Rom that can play educational games (probably at the pre-school level). My biggest accomplishment, however, this week was getting soap put into the bathrooms. I've got about a million ideas for improvements but I know I can't be too eager. I know I have to establish rapport with the staff first so that they will want to help with these projects for their own school. I have new pics but I have yet to send them. Mail goes out on Tuesday I will try my best to get to the Falemeli (post office) by then.
Thank you for all of your kind and warm words regarding my friend's tragedy. She's in my thoughts everyday and it has helped knowing that all of you care so much.