Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa

Archive for October, 2008

Back in Apia

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 28, 2008

So we spent a week in the village, but it feels more like a month. My host family is great. Check out the pictures below.

This week I’ll be shadowing a current volunteer, so I’ll get some kind of idea of what I’ll be doing for the next two years. I’m kind of excited about it. I’m still living out of a suitcase and back and forth from the village and town, so I don’t think its a good idea to send any packages yet. Also peanut butter is availible in apia. I think its more likely that’ll need some reading material (scifi books) and dvds (religerous when it comes out maybe).

Food wise, my family kept me away from too much fish. I did try some oka though, which is raw fish marinated in coconut juices. It was pretty tasty. I also had eel, wich tasted like fish. Mostly though it was taro and fried chicken. Taro is kinda like a potato, but I like it way better. We went to the planation where my samoan family grows the taro on saturday, it was a great experience.

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Village Stay

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 17, 2008

Tomorrow we’re leaving for our village stay. I’m not supposed give out any specifics on the blog, so I can’t say which village, but suffice it to say that it will be far more remote than the capital, Apia. The chances of any type of internet access is zilch, so this will be probably be the last post for a while.

So far in Apia we havn’t had too much of the rugged volunteer experience, but I think all that will change tomorrow. There won’t be any running water, and so they showed us how to bathe with a bucket. I’ve also been able to avoid eating fish so far, but at the village I’m going to eat whatever they serve me. The biggest adjusment though, they’re making me shave the beard.

I’m sure I’ll be fine though, and I’ll post some of the things I’ve eaten for those that are interested.

Manuia!

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Pictures — Finally!

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 16, 2008

The internet here is really slow so I’ve been neglecting to upload any pictures. Below is a picture of me in my new lavalava and one of our group out at a chinese restaurant.

So far training has been a lot of fun. Monday was a holiday, so we went to the beach all day. Then on tuesday we had water safety training which involved snorkeling in the reef. Who says the peace corps is tough…

Next week we are headed to the village, where we will be staying with a host family. I won’t be able to avoid eating fish while there.

Oh! and I’ve been given a Samoan name: Koa. It means “Warrior” and “Rooster.” Igoa would have been a more suitable transliteration, but it means “name” so that might have gotten a bit confusing. I like Koa though, and it actually seems to be sticking.

Manuia!

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LAX

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 8, 2008

I’m in the airport right now, waiting for my flight for Samoa. The last two days have been very exciting, I’ve been mingling with my new friends for the next three months (during training). There’s a group of 13 of us going to Samoa, and another group of 20 or so going to Tonga. In about another two hours we’ll finally be leaving for Samoa. Not sure yet what the internet situation will be like there, so I figured this would be a good time for a post.

Staging was actually fun. We did some team building activities, went over some of what we would be doing when we got there, etc. Now training will begin, expect the next post to have pictures!

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Farewell ProSensing

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 3, 2008

Today was the last day at work. We had a going away party, it was really nice. I only managed to take two pictures though, so sorry if the “gallery” down there is a little lacking. I can’t say that I’d rather be going to work than Samoa next week, but I think I may actually miss the place.

ProSensing-ites, can you guys send me this year’s upcoming holiday picture?

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I hope the Unabomber doesn’t read this blog

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 1, 2008

Here’s the address:

Igor Popstefanija
Peace Corps
Private Mail Bag
Apia, Western Samoa
South Pacific

I would normally be hesitant to post an address online, but seeing as it doesn’t actually look anything like a real address it might be okay for now. I’ll probably delete this post soon anyway.

I lifted some info off the peace corps wiki about sending packages:

Care Package Considerations

Of great interest is how to get care packages here, and whether they will actually arrive. The mail varies greatly even from where you send it in the U.S. The following are some tips to getting mail here a little more quickly and smoothly.

  • Mail comes twice a week so there is no point in ever having something shipped next day or express mail.
  • The smaller the box, the better. Up to 12x12x6 seems to do well getting here. The larger the box, the more time it seems to take, the more beaten up it is, and the more appealing it is to others.
  • Be sure a customs form is filled out with it. Otherwise, it gets held up.
  • Be sure “Western Samoa” is on the label, and the U.S. post office is clear on where it is going. Postage should not be domestic rates; otherwise, it may go to American Samoa, where it is sent back to the U.S. or never arrives.
  • It is good to write, “God is Watching,” or “God Bless this package,” on the box. Just a safety precaution. Boxes usually get here, but just in case.
  • If it is valuable, insure it.
  • Faster is not always…well, faster. Air mail packages can get here in three weeks or three months. If someone wants to send you something timely (e.g., for a birthday or Christmas), he or she should send it very early, air mail or not. Note that Christmas time is horrible for sending packages. If your loved ones want to send a Christmas gift, be sure they send it early or let them know you are okay if it arrives in February or later.
  • Pack well. Anything that can rattle around in the box can get broken. If the smallest box available still has air spaces, candy makes great packing material (hint, hint). Avoid using styrofoam peanuts; Samoa is a small country and trash accumulates quickly.
  • Don’t panic! Mail usually arrives just fine, it just takes a while.

It’s a real nice website that has plenty of info about the peace corps: http://www.peacecorpswiki.org/Peace_Corps_Wiki

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