Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Family Day

Yesterday my host family celebrated Family Day, a national holiday that falls on the day after Christmas every year in Vanuatu. My host family caught fresh fish and celebrated my arrival in Vanuatu with a prayer and welcoming speech in Bislama. The people here have embraced me and the presence of the Peace Corps and proven themselves to be a culture based on hospitality and community. However, they are also limited and isolated by their geographic position as an archipelago with significant distance from any other nation, as well as their lack of media. People will ask me the same questions repeatedly, as well as questions with obvious answers. I will go to the beach and someone will ask me "Paz, yu go swim?" When I come back from the beach, the same people will ask me if I have just come from the beach. I believe this is because their lack of resources presents them with a scarcity of conversation topics. It is the same reason church sermons are recycled every Sunday. However, I believe the presence of the Peace Corps in the country will allow the locals to witness new information and ideas. Perhaps this is the reason the people of Vanuatu have always welcomed the Peace Corps. They are a culture in search of innovation, new dialogues that will enhance their quality of life.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Paz,

    One of the things I remember Sue Gannon saying about her Peace Corp. experience (in The Gambia, west Africa) is that the African tribe she lived w. had no concept of "alone". When she was reading a book they would come and say "what are you doing?". Then, when she answered "I'm reading" they would ask her to tell them the story and sit down and wait.
    I am so happy to read your blog.....blessings on you......Cindy