15 June 2007

Training: Weeks 1-3

I will begin this by saying that I have learned that I should not let three weeks go by without a record of what I am doing with my days... When I finally get the chance to pause and reflect upon my activities, I am overwhelmed by the task and can think of nothing to say. Lesson learned.

I couldn’t precisely say what in me has changed since Kiribati. Though, I will note that I have felt a distinct shift in my attitude and the “lenses” through which I observe my world. No longer am I drawn to reflections of spiritual importance filled with wisdom gained about my own nature. I feel a sense of regret at the loss of that perspective and I hope it will return.

Three weeks.

It feels like so much more and also so much less. The Peace Corps has seen to it that every day of my training is packed with cross-cultural and health development goodness.
To start, I will say that I received a disappointing hit on my first day when I was assigned to a Fijian village after clearly listing my preference to learn Hindi. I’m trying my best each day to see the positive in this choice but some days are more difficult than others. To see years of study and understanding about Hinduism and Indian culture set aside without any specific explanation as to why I was being asked to do so. I must mention in fairness that I brought the topic up to my Program Coordinator who promptly told me that they lined us up on a grid by job and placed us where they thought we might be needed, which is logical enough. But her demeanor seemed slightly dismissive and my preference was not simply out of desire but a clear understanding of my ability to integrate with the Indo-Fijian community. Something in me is still upset with the decision... but I will remain positive. I can learn Hindi on my own later and find some way to integrate with the Indo-Fijian community here, most likely through attending functions/holidays at a temple. But, for right now, I am getting a rare opportunity to experience Fijian village culture and learn the language.

Life as a Peace Corps Trainee...

A typical day.
  • 6:00 Go For a Run
  • 7:00 Bucket Bathe, Brush Teeth & Get Dressed
  • 7:30 Eat Breakfast - Today, Papaya, Banana, Roti, & Green Tea (from my depleting stash)
  • 8:00 Vuli ni vakaViti (Fijian Language Lessons) - Today we studied: Subjective Pronouns and all their exciting and specific forms. For example: “Keitou” is the pronoun for “We” when there are more than 2 people and the speaker is included.
  • 10:00 Morning Tea
  • 10:30 Fijian Lessons Continue...
    We continued our studies by reading a bit of article on rugby from the local paper.
  • 12:00 Lunch
    Today: Ginger Broth Soup with Egg and Ramen & Cucumber
  • 1:00 Community Assessment Activities or Health Technical Training
    - Ex. of Community Assessment Activities
    Going house to house and asking (in as much Fijian as you can muster) about rubbish disposal in the village
    - Ex. of Health Technical Training
    Visiting the only Mental Health hospital in the Pacific... St. Giles Hospital. And realizing there are no services available there for adolescents or elderly.
  • 6:30 Dinner
    Today: Dhal Soup Fijian Style with Rice & Milo
  • 7:00 Evening Family Prayer (like a Mini Church Service in Fijian)
  • 8:00 Study with Fellow PCTs
  • 10:00 Bedtime

So...Thats my day, everyday with some small variations to keep things lively.


Ah, Day of Rest… in theory. In reality, the most exhausting day of my week. I am living as a Minister's daughter. 6 hours of church on Sundays starting at 4:30 am. The Methodist here are not what I remember from back home. But its good to see that aspect of the culture... if it is exhausting to have to sit in church for an entire day with every word spoken in Fijian.

I'll continue this another day when I have time.. my precious hour at the Internet Cafe is up.