The road trip finally concluded, we flew out of Salt Lake, Utah on thursday, October 4th 2012. We landed in L.A. that afternoon and began the intense experience that is staging; which included meeting all of our group 25 that was going to Vanuatu this year (30 of us!). Staging was an overnight and all day event with us flying out of the country at 10:30p at night to Auckland New Zealand- an overnight (obviously) 13 hour trip.
I don’t know about anyone else, but I did not get one wink on that flight- but I did watch 4 movies, which just may have to hold me over until 2015 (MIB3, We bought a zoo(which made me cry), Moonrise Kingdom, ). More security, more waiting, and another take off and landing- New Zealand deserves more time than 2 hours spent at the airport. Just sayin’.
And, then we landed in Port Vila, Vanuatu! Local time- 10:30am. estimated biological time for me- 5:30pm after having been awake for 35 hours. It took a week, but I finally got caught up on sleep and recovered from jetlag. But what a week- training is intense and the first week was even more so! But we have survived, even 24 hour bouts of sit-sit-wota (don’t ask).
As it now stands we are in our training villages (me in Tanaliu-Nicci in Malafau) living under the care of our host families who feed us and make us talk in Bislama while taking 8 hours of training classes everyday. Our free time is filled with cultural activities (cutting open a coconut with a machete, making laplap~a taro product, repairing grass structures, killing hundredleg (code for a giant centipede), etc.), swimming in the ocean, and trying to get a decent night sleep- which is hard given the sun starts coming up at 430am, and the roosters and dogs make a ton of noise and they don’t wait until light to do so.
We have 4 more weeks of training including an island visit to an existing volunteer site- and THEN we find out which island/site we will be working/living at for the next two years. I am currently reading Les Miserables, assorted Buddhist texts and re-reading The Fellowship and Ishmael when I need light reading. We would love to receive letters via snail-mail from any and every-one! And care packages too! (big hot item winners include dry package food(-macncheese, ricearoni, zatarains), quinoa, dehydrated hummus, dark chocolate and umm hot sauce- franks, tapatio, or sriracha).
The address- it may already be on this blog but oh well-
Peace Corps Vanuatu
c/o Peter &/or Nicci Areté
Port Vila, Vanuatu
If you REALLY want to hear from us, I recommend writing a letter- updates will continue to be forthcoming at this blog, but only on a 4-6 month interval. We will update again the week before we go to site, the beginning of December.