8/25/11

Island Living- Reflections from a Volunteer in American Samoa

WorldTeach volunteers who departed for the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and American Samoa in July have recently wrapped up their month-long orientations. No longer living with the rest of the group, the volunteers have since moved to their individual sites where they are beginning to teach subjects such as English, Math and Business.

After spending a month learning about their new lives in the South Pacific, many volunteers have begun to reflect on their experiences. Here is one such reflection from Mitch, an American Samoa volunteer:

My living situation is actually far better than I was anticipating. Although I am thrilled to be livingin a wonderful house, part of me feels embarrassed that I am living in arguably the nicest house in my village, and maybe my entire island. It is truly humbling to know that WorldTeachers are so highly regarded here that we are put up in the nicest accommodations. My daily commute through the neighbouring village of Ta'u reminds me of how modestly some people here live. Some houses look unsafe to live in ; others have clearly already begun to fall apart. And yet, for all that I consider to be unfortunate living conditions, I have yet to see a local act as it they are hard done by, and I think that is due to the fact that Samoans place such high emphasis on community wealth and well-being, often at the expense of personal gain. I must admit that, coming from a culture that emphasizes the importance of personal security and individual achievement, I am inspired by what I see around me, and it in part motivates me to strive to be a better teacher every day.

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