The first part of PST (Pre-Service Training) is over and on Sunday morning we left our training villages to come to Vila. In some ways I cannot believe 7 weeks have already gone by, and in others it feels like Takara has always been my home. Although I have only known these people for a short time, saying goodbye and moving on was incredibly emotional. I had such a wonderful experience in Takara and was blessed with such a welcoming and loving family, and I found I was not quite ready to leave. I felt like I was leaving yet another home and another family. It's hard to think I will no longer be cooking and going to the garden with my Mama, getting history lessons from my Papa, weaving mats with my sister, listening to my brother play the guitar, and swimming in the ocean with my cousins.
In true Vanuatu fashion we spent the last night eating copious amounts of food, telling stories, and making small speeches. My Mama made a very sweet speech and started crying when she talked about me leaving. The last month or so, she has been campaigning to have me placed on Efate so I would be close by, and she has even been searching the job adds in the newspaper for a business position for me in Vila (even though I tried to explain to her that Peace Corps doesn't exactly work that way!). When I came back from visiting a volunteer on Ambae with some infected bug bites she was convinced that was a perfectly good reason for me to just stay "home." What she said was, "Sapos yu ko lo Ambae, bae hemi spoilem Lelei blong me!" which roughly translated means, "If you go to Ambae, it will spoil my Lelei!" But I have promised to visit every time I come back to Vila and given her my phone number so she can periodically check in, and I think she's satisfied with that. My Papa's speech (to the entire village) involved a wonderfully embarrassing little story about the one night that something I ate didn't agree with me, and he updated everyone on my gastrointestinal problems and my several trips to the toilet. The other volunteers thought it was hilarious, and Robert told me I really have a true family here: a mother who fusses and cries and a father who tells embarrassing stories. I will miss belonging to such a loving family.
We are back in Vila now for one last week of training, and then we will be off to our new homes for the next two years. I will post soon with details of my site. Exciting news!!