Captain’s Log: 1 Month Down
Close to the mainland.
1 primary school.
My new home.
What have I gotten myself into.
Today marks one month at site. I treated myself to a full helio shower, aka I used the entire thing rather than rationing out my water for 3-4 showers, it was glorious. I never thought about my water usage, how fridges are a gift from the gods, or even how beautiful grocery stores are but now it’s become a daily consideration. All part of my semi-routine.
Uripiv is breathtaking, I guarantee if you were planning a island paradise vacation, this would be top on your list. You can walk around the island in one hour, greeted along the way by the smiling community, snorkel through huge reefs filled with fish, and watch dolphins play alongside the boat into town. However living here is not a holiday but it ain’t too shabby either.
I remember when I first arrived for walkabout week, I was overwhelmed. I thought as I tried to defeat the spider in my room, wtf am I doing here? Then the next day I played with the kids near the saltwater and beamed with joy. I was here for them. Now one month down, whenever I battle spiders, millipods, and rats, or as my face melts from the heat and humidity, or even when I’m feeling alone, the thought never really goes away but neither does the reminder, so it’s a rollercoaster win win!
I haven’t been writing because I fear I’ll want to come home when deep down I know I don’t actually want to leave Vanuatu. I miss home, I miss not having to ration my water or think about what to do if my rain tank runs out (only source of drinking water) during the dry season, whether or not my food is going to keep or be eaten by rats, or feeling alone even though I’m surrounded by a community. I would like to say this past month and even being in the Peace Corps is the easiest thing I’ve ever done but truthfully it’s really flipping hard. You learn a new language in 3 months, you never know what your day is going to look like, you may or may not have service, the food may or may not sit well with your stomach (sick since day one), and you’re most likely going to be alone at site. If you’re located in a place with numerous natural disasters you’ll learn to laugh at earthquakes under 5.5, carry tin food during cyclone season, and again, ration your water during dry season. You’ll have highs and lows every day.
Some highs from month numero uno:
Spontaneous teaching the kids when the headmistress was sick and making them laugh with an energizer where they had to copy my every move. Needless to say, I made them dance like the car promoter wavy guys or “silly men” as the kid I used to nanny would so endearingly name them.
Snorkel to find 5 feet from the shore are glorious, magical reefs.
Walking around the island with my dogs and watched them play with the kids who joined us along the way.
Teach my host family the game “shithead” and watch them laugh as they were clueless but were so willing to learn.
Eat laplap sor sor as much as possible. *drool*
Cooking in my kitchen to find two kids watching my against my window, then teaching them about what kind of seeds I have for my garden.
Swim swim (Swimming in the ocean) with my neighbors (3 girls under the age of 5) who tease and laugh with me everyday.
The headmistress and one of the teachers helping me wash my clothes because I didn’t have a timber (piece of flat wood) to scrub on. They scolded me and made me laugh all at once.
Having tea with all the teachers to get to know them. What was supposed to be one hour ended up being 3.
Making many oldfela ladies laugh at my gardening skills.
Not to mention cooking skills.
The numerous conversations I’ve had with the headmistress that always end with us in tears of laughter and usually talking about dancing to the Macarena or the Chicken Dance.
Having diarrhea since day one. No joke, remember the scene from Bridesmaids where she’s running into the street with the dress on and just crumbles into the middle of the street because she can’t make it any farther? Yup that’s my reality.
Crying. A lot. Just from missing home, or missing comforts, or being alone, or having a mid-twenties life crisis. It’s all grand. Everyone needs a good cry.
Eating breakfast crackers for the first forever because the meal plan I was meant to be on didn’t start till last week.
Watched as my neighbor cried for hours. I still don’t know why.
Watched kids with huge cuts get infected and really sick and not be able to help.
Been so hot from the humidity that I wanted to die. It’s winter here. The worst is yet to come.
Begged for help with some things around my house and when I finally got help was lectured about women who need too much and was mansplained about how to make shelves.
So. Many. Fucking. Spiders.
Killed a millipod on my first night at site and went at it like a Viking on drugs about to kill an Englishmen. I then burned it. Then I cried.
My front door has broken 3 times. Yet to be properly fixed.
Social media is a fomo’s (fear of missing out) nightmare while in Peace Corps.
But this is something I signed up for. Peace Corps isn’t meant to be easy, you are supposed to be out of your comfort zone and Vanuatu is a glorious place to be thrown into. Now I have kicked the writer’s block, I’ll be sure to keep you guys updated when I can and the data or rare wifi is plentiful. For now, cheers to one month!