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Reisverslag A Dutch girl in Samoa: CH 5 ‘Internship’
21 april 2015
A Dutch girl in Samoa: CH 5 ‘Internship’
Sorry for waiting so long for my next update!
I will begin this update by telling you a bit more about my internship. In my very first update I said I was going to the Mental Health Unit of the national Hospital or the Tupua Tamasese Meaole Hospital and Goshen Trust. Well, the place of the internship has been changed now. Since three weeks I am at the Loto Taumafai School and with two Social Workers at the hospital. Monday till Thursday I am at the school and Friday I go to the hospital. The month March was a bit of a switching month. Now I can work at my new placements in April, May and June. I changed because there was not much to do and it was too much working with adults.
Loto Taumafai is a school for children with disabilities and is going to be a nice challenge for me. The age range varies between 4 and 25 years old. They are not sure what the children exactly have. Most say the children are slow learners, slow in reading and writing, deaf or naughty. I cannot do a proper assessment or diagnose them properly. Simply because there are no tests available. I can observe some children and get as much information about them as I can and form a sort of conclusion. The main thing I probably will be doing is to give psycho education to the teachers. When I will be gone, I have passed on some mental health knowledge.
With the Social Workers I will be doing counselling and working on a project with a group of mothers whose babies are malnutrition.
This month and the end of March I have been away during the weekends. For example the weekend of Saturday, 28th of March and Sunday, 29th me and three others went to Manono Island. The Island lies between the big Islands of Upolu and Savai’i. The best thing about Manono Island is that there are no cars and no dogs! With the bus it takes you about 1,5 hours to go the Manono wharf and costs you just 5 tala. From there the Sunset View boat will take you to the Fales within 20 minutes. That day we walked up Mount Tulimanuiva and passed by a star mound and grave of Afutiti. Walking down and back to the Fales in the hot sun we also passed by the Grave of 99 stones. Next day was a Sunday, so that means usually (almost) every tourist attraction is closed. The one thing you then can do is swim in the ocean, so we swam in the ocean on Sunday. We had visited everything that’s on that small little Island anyway.
The weekend after we went to Manono was Easter weekend. Here it is a Christian holiday and all the other things like the Easter bunny, Easter branches or Easter eggs is unknown here. Here in Samoa they start going to church on Thursday evening until Sunday. They go at least once a day and sometimes even twice. I only went to church with my host family on Easter Sunday. The only difference from a regular mass was that there were more people and more in white clothing. In the evening there was a touring circus, the Magic Circus of Samoa, in a village just 20 minutes from us. I went with two others and we all had a great time. The highlight was meeting the shortest man alive. He really is short! The man is called Chandra Bahadur Dangi, has a length of 54,6 centimeters, comes from Nepal and is 76 years old. It was a nice evening. Then on Easter Monday (6th of April 2015) every one of the volunteers except Annick went to Palolo Deep Marine Reserve Apia. It is highly recommended to snorkel there! Such incredible coral and beautiful fish! That day the volunteers Anja and Eivor flew back home in the evening and we had to say goodbye to them.
From Thursday, 9th of April till Sunday, the 12th of April 2015 I went with Tobias and his host mother and father to Savai’i. I could take the Thursday and Friday off. We slept the first two nights at their family (at Vailoa village) and the third night at Lauiula Beach Fales (at Lano village). We arrived pretty late on Thursday and it was raining that day. So we decided to stay at the house of the family. Next day the host father had to arrange a seminar in his village. We helped him by setting up the projector and making pictures. In return we had another good Samoan experience. There were some important people (a minister, someone from UNESCO, 2 others), you had to wear a lavalava or puletasi and there was free lunch at the end. I was glad I was able to take some pictures, because the whole thing was in Samoan. After the seminar we went to the Afu-A-Au Falls, which lies next to the village. The water there is clear, fresh and sweet. The water is probably even potable. We spend the whole afternoon there swimming, talking with tourists and taking pictures. Next day we woke up early and went to the Alofa’aga Blowholes. We had to wait at least one hour before we were able to catch a bus to the village of Taga, where the Blowholes are. The weather was finally on our side and the sight was amazing. The power of the water going high up in the air is incredible! After taking a lot of pictures of this force of nature we took two busses to Tafua Savai’i crater at Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve. This went in a Samoan way: ‘Yes, we go to that direction’, it stopped a few times to get e.g. food, ‘You go and take that bus now’, we thinking in 2nd bus: ‘But we are driving back now?’, at the end when bus stopped for us: ‘So, where is the start of going to the crater?’. Luckily, the people are friendly and you somehow get to the place you want to go eventually. We were guided to the crater by some teenage girls and two boys. When finally there we had to take pictures very fast, cause it began to rain. When we were back at the starting point standing dry, one of the girls called a taxi for us. He brought us to the Lauiula Beach Fales on the East coast. Sleeping there wasn’t expensive, cause we only had to pay 50 tala for one night per person with dinner and breakfast included. The weekend was pretty cheap anyway, because we only had to pay 60 tala per person to the family for two nights. It was, despite the rainy weather, pretty nice at the Fales. It was not so big and not full of people, since it is low season. After a rainy night we woke up, had breakfast and went snorkelling/swimming. It was then already Sunday, so most things are closed. The sun showed itself briefly that morning. With snorkelling it doesn’t matter anyway if it is raining or sunny, the coral and fish still look beautiful. Around noon a taxi took us back to the ferry. Leaving the wharf at exactly 2 o’clock, the long weekend in Savai’i was at an end.
Monday, the 13th of April I experienced a second birthday in Samoa. Jacinta, the host mother of Annick and I, had her birthday that day. In the morning I did not know it yet. Coming into the kitchen I saw Ana, the daughter, making eggs, bacon, white beans in tomato sauce and pancakes. I just thought they were doing a big breakfast for a change. Then I heard it was Jacinta’s birthday. In the evening there were all kinds of delicious things. They were all making fun of me, because I ate a lot haha. Also there was singing, cake and ice scream at the end. Yammie!
During my stay here in Samoa I experienced three earthquakes now. The first two were very small. It felt like someone was shaking your bed. The third and most recent one was a bigger one. It was on a Tuesday (7th of April, 2015). I just sat in the Projects Abroad Office with Flora, the Samoan volunteer. Suddenly I felt that the floor and desk were a bit shaking. Then it was shaking heavier and also the walls were a bit shaking. For one moment I thought if I should go hide under the desk or not. I looked at Flora, but she stayed in her chair looking around cautiously. Suddenly it all stopped. This all happened within one minute. Later I learned that the earthquake was a 5,8 on the Scale of Richter. It was heavier than I thought and experienced. Some other volunteers had felt it as well and some hadn’t noticed at all. They were probably in a bus or car.
On Saturday, the 18th of April, some volunteers and I went to the Return to Paradise Beach, which belongs to a resort with the same name. It was the first time I have seen such big waves and so close to the shore here in Samoa. It is very hard to swim there, because of the current. However the beach looks gorgeous. The name of the beach comes from the 1951 Gary Cooper film ‘Return to Paradise’. So when I am back in Holland, I will have to download and watch that movie. It was a pity that the weather was not in our favour and we had to wait at least one hour till we got some food. Everyone, except me, wanted pizza. Unfortunately, some guests of the resort also ordered pizza. The result of this was that only one of the volunteers and I got what we ordered at first. The rest had to take something else. After some swimming and playing beach volley ball or rugby, having a long lunch and hanging around we went back on time. We had to get back on time, because Annick and I had to make dinner for our host family that evening. We wanted to cook for a change. Annick made Spaghetti Carbonara, but it turned out to be scrambled eggs. The day before when we did the shopping, we couldn’t find any cream and therefore had to use milk. Luckily, I found all the correct ingredients for my Spaghetti Bolognese, even though we had to go to three supermarkets before we found minced meat. In the end there was plenty of Spaghetti and everyone liked both the sauces.
As I told in my last update, the month April is a month of change regarding coming and going of volunteers. The current volunteers at this moment are Annick from Luxembourg, Kellie from Belgium, Kira and Ann from Germany, Louise from Denmark, Alex from the UK, Florian from France, Tobias from Holland, Kathrin from Austria and Lillian (elder lady) from Norway. There has also been a change of Projects Abroad staff members. Faleolo, the Project Coordinator has left. Alex, a Samoan who has lived most his life in Australia, is now the new Project Coordinator. Also Lindsay a young man from Australia has joined the team.
Do not forget to check my Facebook page ‘Psychologist Projects Abroad Samoa’ (http://facebook.com/psychologistsamoa) for photos and videos.
For the non-Dutch readers: if you want to read my previous updates. I have translated the Dutch words on this site to English in my first update. You will find it on the left side of this update at ‘reisverslagen’ [= travel blogs] (below the photo of the beach). Next click on ‘new adventure awaits’, (name of my first update). Or you can click on ‘vorige bericht’ [= previous blog] below this update until you get to the first update.
21 april 2015 12:07 | Door: Frans Levels
Hoi Naomi, leuk je verhaal weer te lezen. Het nuttige (stage) combineren met het aangename.