Thursday, April 15, 2010

A collection of somewhat random experiences

In Samoa, the long distance, silent conversations are quite common and usually involve lots of head nodding. People can be on opposite sides of a room or half a football field away and somehow still get the point across. It's quite impressive.

I was walking in town yesterday when I heard a "hey! hey!" I looked over and see this kid I know from Saturday football. He was about 1/2 a block away and I was walking across the street. He asked where I was going, I replied to the store to shop. He replied with a head nod and a smile, then said bye as he went his way. I said bye, then continued to walk down the street. It then hit me what had just gone on...a silent conversation from a distance. Granted is was no drawn out, in depth conversation, but it did get a laugh from a passing Samoan. I then had a smile on my face while walking down the street. I've apparently not lost all of my villageness and can still hold the silent conversation.

A bit later, I get stopped by a man. He shook my hand and said hello. He then asked if I liked it here. I said "yes, it is nice." He then cocks his head and says "Peace Corps right?" I smiled and said "yes." Then we conversed in Samoan. He asked what I was doing; I told him I work for the Football Federation and he asked some other questions. We wrapped up our conversation after a bit and I proceeded to the store. It did make me smile when I thought about it...he instantly knew I was Pisikoa.

My job here with the Football Federation of Samoa continues to evolve. Most of my work used to be on Saturdays. Saturdays involve me playing coach to the kids, organize/supervise ball kids for the games, help the referees if they need it, sometimes play 4th official, and pay the referees. I would help in the office during the week as well. I organized/filed all the referee reports, went through the reports and made a spreadsheet of top scorers, I helped a player with a visa so he can go to New Zealand and play, and various other random jobs around the office. Not really exciting, but what office job is?

Now I have a whole new area of work. I was appointed to the Disciplinary Committee as secretary. I, along with 2 lawyers, decide punishments for players who have received a red card. Many of the punishments are the standard 1 game suspension, but some involve multiple game suspension and fines. This is interesting to me. I do have a football background so I know what is appropriate in the game and what's not. I'm learning a lot about the ins and outs of football from a technical side. Everything has to be done a certain way and a decision has to be made following a certain set of rules. It's a good experience; I'm enjoying it.

I'm now the interim Media Officer as well. This is a whole new aspect of a job. I'm a marine biologist; I have no journalism or media background at all. Well, that's not entirely true. I was on the yearbook staff for 2 years in middle school, but as far as I'm concerned that doesn't really count. Now I'm in charge of contacting tv stations, writing press releases and articles, and taking photos. I like taking pictures so that part of the job I enjoy a lot, especially because the camera is awesome!

It is amazing at the variety of jobs I've done while in Peace Corps. I've worked with a marine protected area, written grants, organized a bunch of programs (sewing clinic, rubbish seminar, animal de-sexing clinic), etc. Now I'm doing a variety of jobs for FFS. PC always say be flexible and do the job which needs to be done, and I think I've accomplished that. It amazing the new skills and confidence I've gained.

I'm taking part in a course here at FFS about the development of women's football. This is exciting for me. As I think I've written before, I think I might go back to the US and do some coaching. So this course is a good experience for me. We had a little 4v4 tournament today. That was the first time in 2.5 years I've played soccer, aside from the high school alumni game I participated in before coming to PC. I'm a lot rusty and have the touch of a brick wall (course some of that can be blamed on me being a goalkeeper too). Maybe my the end of the course I'll be a bit more to form.


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  2. Glad you are blogging more these days. I sure enjoy reading about your experiences. Glad you are well. fa for now.