Saturday, November 21, 2009

Training Village: Manunu

(Reported on 10/17/09)
Manunu is a village located in the northeastern mountains of Upolu. Sandwiched between the tallest mountains on the island and a Mormon village containing a picturesque waterfall, Manunu is perhaps one of the most beautiful villages in Samoa.

The village's setup is unique in that all the fales (Samoan-styled houses) in the village as well as the village church encircles an enormous field. During the day, you will find the chickens and dogs roaming about, while during the late afternoon drones of children and young adults hang out and play rugby.

It is here, in Manunu, where I was birthed into Samoan culture. So far, it's been awkward, confusing, frustrating, but more importantly, it's been entirely too entertaining.

I will follow this up in two weeks with some fun and lengthly stories and pictures.

Peace Corps Training

Somewhere in my frantic and befuddled mind I had no idea, coming into the Peace Corps, that there would be a 2-month training period wherein if I failed to meet Peace Corps' expectations I would be sent home. Little did I know that I would receive numerous examinations assessing my competency and potential for success.

While the examinations are by no means difficult, the inconvenience of being constantly monitored compounded by helplessly integrating into an entirely different culture made things rather entertaining. That is why I, along with 19 other Peace Corps Trainees (PCTs) were quite literally dropped off in a village, far up in the mountains of Upolu, to integrate into Samoan culture and train for our 2-year assignment.