Sunday, February 16, 2014

2 Months Until COS Conference – Say What?!

I can remember back in December of 2012 arguing over what percentage of our service we had finished.  I was all about upping the numbers a bit.  Conservatively we had been here for four months of service out of a total of 24, making the percentage 16.67%; however, I like to cook the books.  I used to count the two months of training AND the month of December which hadn't finished yet: 7 months out of 24 to equal 29%.  That made it feel like we’d made it over the quarter hump.  It’s all about the milestones, and I needed one in December 2012.  However, there’s no need to be cooking the books right now.  Actually I’d say if there were a complete opposite of cooking the books, that’s what I should be doing now.

I’ve been here for 18 months of service out of 24 making it come exactly to 75% complete.  It’s scary.  I have two and a half months until we have out Cessation of Service Conference (the conference where we get to learn that readjusting back to America, in a word, sucks.).  I’ve been on this island for one year and seven months.  There’s no place to be cooking the clocks now.  As Muse would say, our time is running out.

Because of this internal countdown to leaving Peace Corps, I’ve been trying to leave my impact here with the time I’ve got.  I recently started coaching the Pohnpei middle to long distance Microgames track team which meets up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  They’re great runners.  I give them really hard workouts, but they are all no complaints.  They just put their shoulder to the grind and keep pushing.  I’m mostly teaching them about pacing, timing, and stretching.  Only one of the six I train have a digital watch to track their pace with, so I think the first step from here is to acquire some watches for the team.  It’s great to be coaching again, and yes, I do like the title “coach” quite a lot.

The internal clock is ticking.  I never got to have much impact on little kids here like under eight years old other than like making them laugh by showing them funny faces.  The amount of knowledge I’ve passed on is minimal which is okay because I’m really good at making little kids laugh at my ugly mug.  It’s fun.  Nonetheless, I wanted to leave something behind for young Pohnpeian kids before I leave.  A Department of Education worker and I have just finished writing a book to be used in 1st grade Pohnpeian classrooms.  It’s mostly cute stories about puppies and animals doing things with one to two short sentences per page accompanied by a picture (we didn’t draw the pictures though.  Someone else will be hired to do that.).  We just sent the “complete” text and illustration ideas to our project coordinator at IREI (Island Research Education Initiative), and he said it’s good enough to start creating and pushing it though to publishing.  So yes.  It’s pretty cool, and it’s been one of the most interesting secondary projects I’ve done, not because of the work, but because of the environment.  My coworker and I usually planned to meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for about an hour a day, but that was sometimes difficult because my coworker always had something coming up.  Funerals, meetings, and just wanting to go home early always killed our meetings.  I’d say we met up maybe 30% of the meetings that we had planned.  When we did meet up, our workplace was interesting.  The Department of Education has bathrooms, kind of.  There is no toilet paper.  The sinks are full of clogged dirty water.  There is no soap.  It’s disgusting.  So my only question is this: if there’s no toilet paper, and no soap, how do people use the bathroom sanitarily?  Answer: they don’t.  So ya.  That happened.  Lesson learned: bring toilet paper and hand sanitize.

My next project (I hope it works out) is to record stories to be read over the radio to kids after school.  I think another PCV and I are going to be working on this project because, well, we like the sounds of our own voices and, well, we like to think that our voice travelling the close to the speed of light over radios waves is pretty cool.

I’ve also been eating like a pig but mysteriously not gaining weight despite the fact I don’t run as often as I once did.  I eat at a buffet every day for lunch and grab at least two huge plates of food.  Where do the excess calories go?  No clue.  It’s a medical mystery.

The thriller novel has been in a standstill for a good amount of time.  I wouldn’t call it writer’s block.  I’d call it, dare I say it, lazy-ass-ness.  It takes effort to write, and frankly (yes Frank, I’m calling you out) I haven’t had it.  Surely I can’t be serious?  I am serious, and may Leslie Neilson rest in peace. 

Here’s some pictures to wrap this post up.  Happy late Valentines day to you all, and I’ll see you when the 24 clock burns down to 0.