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Friday night was the swearing-in ceremony for us Micro76s, as my group is affectionately known. It marked the transition from lowly trainee to mighty and powerful volunteer. Well, maybe not quite that big of a change, but still, when Elizabeth, our Program and Training Officer, announced that I was now a Peace Corps Volunteer, I felt a thrill. The ceremony was beautiful. The seven of us new PCVs in Yap all 'went local,' as its called, and we were stunning. I had brilliantly colored, fragrant, and skillfully-made mwaremwares, or leis - two on my head and three around my neck. Each different language group - Yap, Ulithi, and Woleai - presented traditional songs and dances. Singing is NOT my forte, but I was happy to be sharing our song with my host family. It's called "Three Birds," which we wrote in English and then had translated and set to a Woleaian tune. Our song says that we are three birds from far away nests, and it talks about our journey - how we're learning to sing new songs and build new nests here. I may have been offkey, but my sentiment was right on when we sang our thank yous to everyone who has helped us here.

Tino, our langauge teacher, Porter, Me, and Gita singing our song!

Now I have a few free days to prepare and relax before the ship comes to take us out to Woleai. Rumor has it that it's supposed to arrive tomorrow and leave either the 16th or the 18th. It's vague and likely to change, as most plans here are. For instance, our ceremony on Friday was supposed to be at 1 pm at YFTI, then 2:30 at the Youth Center, then 7 pm at Oasis, and then 7 at the park, and finally 7 at O'Keefes. Let's just say that, if you make a plan, make sure you pencil it in and have a good, flexible eraser :-)

I'm all packed up and I am stoked to be so prepared. I have TONS of yummy food to supplement my diet for at least three months, my guess is longer. It's a nice feeling to be prepared, and an even nicer feeling to know that I'm getting on my way. I've been on two islands now for two months, but I have yet to see my new home for the next two years.

I've been finding it difficult to be present in the here and the now since I've been constantly preparing for Woleai, but there are moments that just smack me in the face and make me pay attention to and appreciate life. Last night, for instance, I found myself driving home from my brothers' semifinal basketball game in the back of a pickup truck, mouth agape and eyes glued to the stars. Never, in all my life, have I ever seen such stars. I hope you sometime have the chance to find yourself on a tiny island in the middle of the ocean at night. There are also countless moments with my host brothers, where they just smack me in the face with how amazing or funny or quirky or insightful they are. I am really excited to be a part of this family for the next two years (any time I come back to Yap Proper, they're my family). I've been busy busy crocheting hats for them as thank you presents - thanks Grannie for the yarn, it's perfect! I've finished 6 hats so far and have about 6 more to make. I just can't wait to put down the crochet hook and pick up the scuttle when I learn to weave lavalavas. Just think, in three or four months you'll be getting updates about all the fun mishaps of me learning island skills!

Here's a brief review of what I know about the future...After I depart for Woleai, I will not be back to Yap until the end of Feb/beginning of March for what we call IST - In Service Training. This first year, I'll be in about every three or four months (depending on the ship or plane) for IST or 'resource trips.' That means I won't have internet access for three-four months at a time. Mail will get to me whenever there's a ship/plane that comes out. Each week, I'll have a SSB chat with Regina, the PA, to make sure everything is going well (there's a satellite phone and epirb for emergencies). I'll try to use these chats to get news to my good friend Laura back on Yap, who will then communicate with my mom, who may then post to let everyone know I'm alright. But in case this doesn't happen or isn't possible, just assume no news is good news. Of course, I'll do my best to write to each of you, and I'd love letters in return! Basically we'll have to see what things are like and then go with it. But what's new?

Okay, and now it's finally time to show you a little bit of what life here is like (one of the great perks of being an official volunteer is use of the office computer!). So here goes, starting with the most recent first!

Me and my host family before the ceremony - these women made these gorgeous mwaremwares!

Me, Divine, and Lindsey on Halloween

The "Local Boys" on Halloween - My twin bros Rodney and Riley and friend Lawrence

Halloween in Maap - fending off evil spirits :-)

View from Maap, Yap (Halloween)

Gita and Porter, my Woleai-mates, on Water Safety Day

Water Safety Training on Halloween

Sunset at my house

Sunset on the lagoon that the Yap Canoe Festival

Jaden (4), Lindsey (12), and Divine/Duck (8), some of my host brothers in my room

Laura, Gita, and Porter in our lovely PC office in Yap!

Gita and I at a basketball game our second day in Yap - the first thing I could do after food poisoning!

The Mirco 76 Group - all 30 of us plus PC staff!

Lauren, Laura, Me, and Porter at the Mand waterfall (ropeswing!) in Pohnpei

JR, my 3 yr. old host cousin in Pohnpei (my room in the back)

Me at Nan Madol - ancient ruins in Pohnpei

PATS - our traning cite in Pohnpei


PS - Hi Kathy (Rob's mom!)!! Thanks for reading!


Thomas Holladay said...

This is great. I was in Micro 1 in Key West. Was a volunteer teacher at North Fanif. Then I ran the Yapese program on Truk, the first in country training and my last year ran the language program for the first training in Yap. Good to see you guys don the native garb. Tom Holladay

Ln said...


Anonymous said...

wow u stayed with Ramona n Juanito??thats kewl,hope u had a great time with em..missed em very much..

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