08 March 2007

March 1-7: Arrival in Kiribati and Beginning Pre-Service Training

Here is the first of Rhi's letter posts. Please forgive any spelling errors. Sometimes her handwriting is a bit shaky.

2 March
Lagoon Breeze Hotel, S. Tarawa

Today marks my second day in Kiribati.

So much has occurred in the last day and a half... its hard to sum it up in words. We were greeted by groups of children and PCVs at the airport. They brought us chilled moimoto (young coconuts with juice) and flower garlands to wear, each one exquisitely crafted by hand. We then had a briefing on the basics of training.

4 March
Lagoon Breeze Hotel, S. Tarawa

Language has me a bit stressed- my need for perfection is the source more than the classes themselves.

I was very moved by the sunset today... the landscape combined with some jazz that was playing set the tone for a mood that was relaxed and content and yet very moving. It was a beautiful moment.

7 March
Lagoon Breeze Hotel, S. Tarawa

I feel as thought I am beginning to adjust to this new way of life. Slowly, I recognize new patterns of behavior. I also am adapting previous patterns of behavior to fit a new context. On another note, I am finding that it is difficult to retaing personal priorities while in a group. I struggle to remain humble and dedicated to my role here.

Reading a letter from a friend reminds me that I should cherish each moment... cherish each person I come into contact with. I never can know how much I might effect them.

I visited the local JSS (junior high school). It looks a bit run down and very institutional but inside the students were attentive and well-behaved. It seemed as though each teacher I observed taught by rote form though. This will be a difficult attitude to alter significantly if it is embraced country-wide.

On another note, I had the unexpected delight of meeting several neighborhood children. We played games, they taught me to climb to the top of a coconut tree and how to count in Kiribati. I also showed them how to recycle wrappers into flowers for their hair.


A day that spans oceans,
A moment that passes without notice.
My breath rises and falls
Each breath should be seen as a
beautiful wave.

Phrase of the week: Tinam... (Your mom...)

- Create a traditionally woven meditation cushion.
- 'Root-cellar' style cooling pit with lid.

Learned this week:
- How to introduce myself and make simple polite conversation.
- How to tebotebo (bathe) Kiribati-style.
- Water safety near a coral reef.
- That I have several strong intelligence styles: Logical, Kinestic, Self and Existential.
- That I prefer private time after being in a crowd.
- Bonding with others is an active choice for me - a needful one to be effective here but also need to respect my personal needs to.