Monday August 12
Today was the first day of work for teachers. Trish and her husband pick up many of the teachers on their way upstairs which means we don’t have to walk to school. Side note – The school is ‘upstairs because it is up the hill in Ta’u. The rest of Ta’u is ‘downstairs’ because it is on the coast. Faleasoa is also ‘downstairs’ because it is on the coast. Sasha and I wait with Wes, Cat, and Jason (all previous WT volunteers who have stayed on contract with the DoE) on the church steps for the truck to come. It’s a really nice ride through the villages if Faleasoa and Ta’u.
School today consisted of a quick staff meaning and plenty of time to clean our classrooms. Every surface of my room was covered in dust, bugs, and gecko poop. I had a petrified gecko skeleton or two in the middle of the room as well. But I cleaned it all up and started decorating. I love the room though. It is in a round building so it is pie slice shaped with really high ceilings. If I look out my classroom window I can see the ocean in the distance. Not a bad deal overall. The cleaning/decorating should be done tomorrow. Then the lesson planning begins.
I feel like I should share a little more about yesterday’s plane ride. The Pago Pago International Airport is very small. We checked in for the flight by telling the man working the counter our name. No ID was needed. We then handed over our bags and were weighed. The plane has a weight limit that often means all 16 seats can’t be utilized and the seats that are used need to distribute weight evenly. Next we received our tickets which are handwritten at the counter. We waited around a bit more before proceeding to the gate. We never went through any type of security. I wasn’t sure the machete in my bag was allowed on a plane. Turns out taking a machete on the plane is no big deal. I had seat 1A on the dinky 16 seater. There is no door to the cockpit so I chatted with the pilot a bit before takeoff and watched them flip countless switches the whole way there. It’s a shirt flight so the plane flies low giving everyone a great view of Tutuila, Annu’u, Olosega, Ofu, and eventually Ta’u. The airport on Ta’u is literally a small hut with a desk and scale a d a few benches. ‘Baggage claim’ is a cart of bags that is pushed over and left for everyone to take what’s theirs. Totally unlike flying in most of the rest of the world.
It is a little after 8:30 pm but I feel like I’ve been up for 4 days. I have to meet my ride at 6:30 tomorrow morning so I’m off to bed. Tofa!
Tuesday August 12th
A ton of progress has been made in my classroom the past 2 days! It is so much cleaner and most of my decorations are up. The next few days will be spent figuring out what to teach. I have 5 classes each day – 1 period of freshman English, 2 periods of sophomore English, 1 period of junior English, and 1 period of senior English. Lots of planning to do, but I’m excited that I get to teach every grade level.
We are leaving work in about an hour. A group of the palagi staff went swimming yesterday after school. I’m hoping to do something similar today. Tofa for now!