Friday, September 21, 2012

Pisi Tele - Very Busy

Group 82 warned that the last months of our service would be very busy.  Privately, I scoffed.  Things move at a snail’s pace for two years, but suddenly they ratchet to warp speed?  Yeah, right.

Yes, actually, it’s true.  Things that have been put off for two years now must be done.  Immediately.  I have mixed feelings about it.  First, I want to help and do as much as I can before I leave.  On the other hand, I’m a bit resentful that someone else’s procrastination is now burying me in work. 

Ok, burying may be too strong a word.  But my work load is definitely the heaviest that it’s been since training.  I’ll give you a few examples. 

At school, I’ve been trying to get the teachers to learn how to use our computer.  I’ve loaded it with resources, not just for English but for all subjects.  No one was interested.  They were busy, hungry, tired or whatever excuse was handy at the time.   Now, they realize there’s good stuff in there and some of them want to learn.  That’s a good thing but it takes time.  Yesterday I taught them how to use the scanner.  It was wonderful to see them so engaged and successful.

I’m going to be assisting in the cultural training for Group 84.  I’m looking forward to it.  The PC staff responsible for the training have had 1 ½ years to prepare.  I don’t know what they were busy with but it was not this.  I was sent a bunch of files and asked to create the training.  I redesigned one program this week, using three previous versions, none of which was complete.  It took about six hours.  I have ten programs to go and two weeks to do it.

The government has decided that Teachers’ Week should be a big deal.  That’s swell.  Teachers are important and although it’s a prestigious and high paying job (relatively speaking), there’s a shortage of teachers.

The first event is a church service.  It will be held next Sunday.  Each district’s teachers will be singing two hymns.  It promises to be a very, very long service.  Yesterday, we cancelled school at 10:30 a.m. so we could practice.  Luckily, we’re having the rehearsals at my school so I don’t have to take the bus, which can add hours to any endeavor.

We’ll have two more practice sessions, next Tuesday and Thursday.  On those days, school will last from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  The following week there are a series of events that will also mean no school.  Personally, I think the better option would be to have teachers in the classrooms, actually teaching.

I’m also busy preparing to do more customer service training at a resort in Salelologa.  Again, I’m very happy to do it, but after begging for over a year, find it frustrating that it has to happen in my last few weeks.

I’m also involved in a cool project that is the “baby” of a member of Group 82.  I’ve mentioned this before.  He’s trying to raise about $7,000 to take three of the kids back to his hometown in Michigan.  It’s a terrific idea and I want to help as much as I can but it’s coming at a busy time.  

I also volunteered to cook for Women’s Night for the new group.  That’s going to be a busy day of shopping and cooking but should be very fun.  Ladies of Group 84, I hope you like the menu.  It will be a bit Samoan and a bit palagi, with enough options to meet the needs of both vegetarian’s and meat eaters. 

Also in anticipation of Group 84, I have to learn a Samoan siva (dance) to perform at their “welcome to Samoa” fiafia (party).   I’m struggling to get my hands, feet and hips in synch.  I’ll be in the back.  Group 84, just watch the young volunteers who can actually dance.

Oh, and did I mention that I happen to have a full-time job as a teacher, which requires a modicum of preparation?

Whine, whine, whine.  As an independent management consultant for over 15 years I traveled constantly and worked extraordinary hours.  One project, which lasted for six months, frequently required 18 hour days.

Perhaps I should welcome all the activity.  It will help me transition back to life in America.  In the meantime, I have to get busy.  It’s Saturday morning and four other volunteers are coming for lunch and dance practice and I’m cooking – Mexican food.  Last night I made salsa and cooked the chicken for the enchiladas.  Right now, the pinto beans (sent from America) are boiling in preparation to become refried beans.  I’ll be making salad and Mexican rice.  Two of the volunteers promised to bring homemade flour tortillas.  There’s no cheese and the avocadoes I hoped to make guacamole with aren’t ripe enough, but it should still be tasty.  And fun.

Like the old saying goes…”busy hands are happy hands.”

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