So the most common question I have received lately is “what exactly have you been doing.” Haha well, not too much yet. Let me explain.
I am the new person. I am clearly younger than everyone at work and very much fall in the category of “youth” here (please refer back to the Lets Talk about Sex Baby post). And even though I have a college degree (which I now have a copy of… thanks mom!), I cannot just jump right in and start working on a project. It takes sitting with coworkers during morning tea and talking to anyone who comes into our lobby and meeting everyone I can. Relationships here take time and can’t be rushed. Even if I somehow had a Doctorate and knew the cure for AIDS and cancer I couldn’t just jump right into a project it and assume they will embrace it (okay, well maybe if I had that sort of credentials then maybe, but you know what I mean). Essentially what I am saying is respect and trust must be earned first before even thinking about a project regardless of your background or education.
So it’s been seven weeks that I have been at my site (over 3 months in Fiji… time where did you go?). I have finally started to develop a routine. Wake up around 6am (that’s when our neighbors children wake up so in turn that’s when I wake up) , make a hearty breakfast/watch the sunrise over the mountains, take a shower, then head down to work around 8:30. I live on the top of a gigantic hill so the walk into town every morning is really nice but whewwwww… that walk up in the afternoon is a dooooozie. During the day I do everything from helping out around the office to working on my project. What project you might ask? That will be answered in a later blog once it is more solid. After work I usually stop by our fabulous market followed by a few laps at a local pool or some yoga with another volunteer in Lautoka who happens yoga teacher (quite convenient eh?). It gets dark by 6:30 so I spend the evening cooking/reading/occasionally a movie.
Okay and now to answer a few other life questions I get:
Is Lautoka big? Well… it’s big in Fiji standards. I think in there are about 60 000 people that live in the area. It is one of two “cities” in Fiji and we do have a 4 theater movie theater here… so its super big and fancy to me coming from 2 months in a village.
Do I live in a hut (traditionally called a bure here)? Nope, I live in rather nice flat outside of town with another volunteer.
Do you have electricity? Yep and I love it mainly because that means I can have a fridge.
Is it hot there? Yes it is, but right now its “winter”( fyi we are located below the equator). According to older PCVs, winter in Fiji just means it gets slightly cooler at night and its less humid during the day. Its funny to me when people walk around in the morning wearing a scarf and jacket… its like 78 degrees outside. But apparently it is unbelievably hot here during the summer… we’ll see how it compares to July in Florida… I’ll keep y’all updated.
Air Conditioning? Ha. Aircon?... Here? I’m so fortunate to have it at work we but at home… no way José. I do, however have a trusty fan! To anyone who has ever lived with me, yes I sleep with it every night and love it.
Do you have hot water? Well… not really. Our house actually does have a small hot water tank (which is super fancy) but water out here is a precious commodity. So every day our water is only on from around 4 am to 8 am and 4pm to around 6:30pm. So that hot water tank ultimately gets used after the city water shuts off.
How will you watch gator games? Ah I don’t know!!! Sore subject… still trying to figure that out. Not that we have cable tv or anything but Fiji has exactly 3 channels and I’m banking on them not televising American football… super sad.
You must be so tan!? Not at all actually… Fiji is super conservative even the cities. I wear skirts past my knees and wear non-revealing tops everyday. When I swim (with exception to that lap pool) I wear long shorts and t shirt over my bathing suit… so hot, I know.
Do you get homesick? Yes and no… some days are better than others. With recruitment (yes, I missed those sleepless recruitment nights dearly) and school starting back home, these last 2 weeks have been kinda rough. (If any PC 10 happens to stumble upon this… ROCK. OUT. KAPPA. And 07s,08s, and 09s… I hear y’all did a fabulous job!) But wonderful cards and packages from friends and family back home make those harder days so much better!!!! I really really love them.
Alright guys… gotta run. I am sorry about the long break in between posts… I promise to be better about them. Miss y’all. Go Gators!!!!