2009-05-23


It’s Sunday and we finally have some downtime. Language is going o.k.
but I am definitely behind the curve and need to catch up. Some of
the words are starting to stick but memorization is not my strength.
So here are a few phrases for practice:

Masa Mada

Turanga, vinaka vakalevu na kakana oqo, Jisu na ivakabula.
Eimen

Lord, thank you very much for this food, Jesus the savior.

Bula Vinaka

Hello good.

Na yacaqu ‘o Matt.

My name is Matt.

‘O cei beka na yacamuni?

What is your name?

Na yacangu ‘o (name of person you are speaking to).

May name is _____.

O cei na yacana?

What is her/his name (while jesturing to the other person
but NOT pointing).

Na yacana ‘o _______.

Her/His name is _______.

The language overall is pretty simple. Once you learn the vowel
pronunciations and a few rules you are good to go. The big thing that
would’ve helped me prior to coming was an audio of the vowel
pronunciations and a few dozen words spoken. I searched for that
resource but had no luck. I may ask one of the instructors to do this
and post on my blog for future volunteers. It would have helped me
greatly.

The village we live in has a training center for development. It is
extremely beautiful tucked in a few rolling hills with a large river
on one side. We are staying in a Bure with Bryan and Sally. It has a
central commons with a room to the left and right. The walls go
slightly above the doors with a large peaked roof for ventalation.
The windows have mosquito netting, hurricane/theft bars, and slats to
direct the breeze of close the window.

Here are a few pictures that will describe our living arrangements
until Monday:

On Monday we move in with our host families for 8 weeks. Thankfully a
last minute change allowed Kelly and I to live together during this
time. We went to the city of Nausori yesterday to prepare for the
move and get a few essentials for laundry and such. The town was very
dirty with trash and debris everywhere. I would say the friendliness
level was medium to low here, which isn’t surprising for a large
town. Plus there where several va lagi’s (white people) traveling in
packs that I’m sure seemed kinda weird to the locals.

Here are a few prices I remember (all are in Fijian dollars): clothes
clips (pegs) = $.99, laundry detergent ($1.99), small Fijian water
($1.50), Men’s pocket sulu ($17.00), Men’s used bula shirt ($8.00),
peanut butter ($4.95). The American branded items like Kraft where
much more expensive than the non-familiar brand.

A few recommendations for FR8s:

Prepare to be flexible. You have probably already heard this multiple
times, but there are over 30 people running the training in a third
world country and things don’t work like clockwork. You may hear several different answers from people in training. They
are genuinely trying to give you the correct information but often the
information they’re working with is minimal. Go with the flow on the food. Some of it is great, some not so good.
But complaining about it doesn’t get you far and the village food will
probably be on the same level if not lower (I shall see soon). Prepare your training bag as if you are going on a camping trip. This
means water bottles, matches, camp soap, water filters/sanitizer (I
highly recommend the SteriPEN adventurer), compact clothes lines, sun
screen, DEET, bars of soap, and small and large camp towels, You might want to bring some energy pills or some sort of caffeine.
The coffee and tea is very weak and it will help you stay focused
during the language training.

In our village the women cannot where shorts, skirts that come above
the calf, or shirts that expose the shoulders. When we run, Kelly has
to where her sulu to the main road. Head bands are also not allowed
in the village. Guys can where nice shirts, collard shirts, shorts
(knee length), and pants. I’ve worn my sulu once and most the time I
am wearing pants just to be safe. You can’t where sunglasses but I
think they’ve made an exception for us because some are. These rules
apply in most villages and after a while the chief may make an
exception for you after everyone gets to know you well. For locals it
takes about two weeks so for us probably two months!

Enough righting now, I am off to charge my water filter for the
journey tomorrow. Ni sa moce.

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