Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Living the Dream

It has been too long since I updated you all on what has been happening in the insistently hot and sunny Samoa! For the last six months it seems everyone has been talking about the South Pacific Games and then in a flurry of taro, afros and Polynesian drumbeats the event came and went without a hint of the drama everyone had been waiting for.

Matt & I were put through a crash course in brand new parenting habits in the lead up to the games. Whilst Matt’s physical work hours suddenly leapt from 8 to 15 per day, our nights were filled with an increasingly frustrating Nokia ring tone which competes on the scale of annoyingness with, I can only imagine, la cucaracha, green-sleeves or a teething child. Our bodies were completely thrown out of whack due to the influx of Pacific athletes and officials who found it absolutely necessary to call in the middle of the night and tell Matt they needed to blow their nose (or so it would seem). Thank goodness this lasted only during the lead up to the games and interestingly coincided with me throwing the phone across the room and threatening to sleep in the spare bed if it wasn’t switched off at the end of the day. Luckily, Matt soon came to realize that if he turned off his phone, my phone and the house phone we were basically unreachable (except for the CB radio, which I conveniently locked in the car) and the Samoan’s were forced to make decisions on their own. Low and behold, they rose to the challenge and everything ran smoothly throughout the event.

The entire games actually went really well. The threat of an impending food and water shortage never came to fruition, the clubs stayed open past midnight and best of all, everyone was happy with the transport system! Matt got two amazing job offers from the games; firstly to coordinate the transport at the Cook Islands mini games in 2009 and secondly to coordinate the transport for the XIVth South Pacific Games in New Caledonia in 2011. For me, it was perfect timing for a break from EPC. I relished in interviewing people and writing about anything other than electricity! I volunteered as the Media Liaison Officer for Netball and Va’a (outrigger canoeing) which meant I wrote stories and distributed them to the regional media thus ensuring all of the SPG sports were covered. If you want to check out my stories see
here for netball and here for vaa. Unfortunately, in typical Samoan style they provided me with a camera for which the batteries ran out during the first netball game so I had to use my own camera for the rest of the event. As such it got wet when I was photographing Va’a and no longer works. I went to claim it on insurance but there was a $500 excess!!! I’m quite upset as now I won’t be able to send photos home to everyone L

On the upside I am coming to Sydney in a few weeks time! I have been approved to attend a Public Relations Institute of Australia Conference in Sydney which will be awesome. I am really excited as it covers training on crisis communications as well as holistic communications for government corporations, so not only will it give me some great training ideas to bring back to Samoa but I get a trip home to civilization!!!! I am so excited to see everyone but I’m sure I will miss many of you given I’m only home for a week. I am also hoping that this short trip home will help me to get over my recently acquired island fever. I am really glad that I have an end to look forward to with this assignment. Although there is so really good times overall Samoa just isn’t for me. I know now that I will never choose to live in a place with a population of less than a million people or ever work in development again. I’ve been way too disillusioned now that I see where all of the aid money here actually goes.

Last week our poor little pig was attacked by dogs! We have been letting her out to run around because she is really tame now but last week she got too adventurous and ran out onto the road where some dogs saw visions of a spit roast and set in for a feast! Luckily Commando Kate came out and got amidst the beasts and pulled them apart but not before little Christmas got perforated. Now before anyone feels it apt to write to me about stuffing her with rosemary and thyme bear in mind that I’ve heard it all already. The last week has seen me crushing antibiotics and stuffing it into various types of vegetables, cream and bread in an attempt to get her feeling better. The cream trick seems to work and she is back to her cheeky self minus a few chunks of pork.

Last week saw Matt jump on a plane, absolutely exhausted after SPG and head to Iowa. I have no idea where this is but it is in America somewhere and Matt headed over for his friend Miguel’s wedding. I haven’t spoken to him a great deal since he’s been there as he tells me that pre-paid sim cards are not sold in America!! I find this really hard to believe and assume it is just Matt not having investigated the issue! Anyhow, the end of Matt’s job has also freed up some of my time which I have gladly filled with catching up with friends. Last week Luke, Debbie and I went to see Scribe in concert!! This was amazing for a number of reasons. Firstly, it cost us about $5 Aussie and I spent around $130 Aussie to see him (plus many others) 3 years ago. Secondly, it was the first live concert I have been to since the Big Day Out 2006. Thirdly, it was the highlight of Samoa for me so far (this may be a slight exaggeration built upon the island fever from which I’m currently suffering). Irrespective, I had a fantastic time. It was awesome to feel a bit at home again. It is difficult to describe but I guess being surrounded by people wearing the same clothes as me (albeit they teenagers), dancing like noone cares and not having to look over my shoulder for the gossip mongers made me feel so at ease. It was fantastic.

So there I leave it…. Unfortunately I am still finding it difficult to make my day to day life sound exciting but I will try to get into some interesting situations moving forward so that you all have something to laugh at from your lovely desks back home! I miss you all and hope to see you during my visit home (14-21 Oct).