Today Pene came over. He’s the first school-aged boy I met when I got to the village, and he speaks English really well. He came just to hang out, since we used to hang out all the time before school started. After I came home from town on Tuesday, his mom went up to the school to let him know I was back, and he was really excited. Last night he brought me dinner—fish and breadfruit—and in exchange I gave him Chow noodles (the same as Ramen).
Pene is the one who gave me my cat, Musashi. Every night Pene brings me Musashi and I feed him a cheap can of tuna. He sits with me all night until I go to bed, and then wakes me up at about six a.m. each morning. At first it was difficult getting up that early, but I have come to like it, and now I am happy to have Musashi as an alarm clock that won’t snooze.
In the morning I feed him again, open the window and doors, and walk out on the beach with him to watch the sunrise. He climbs up the coconut tree and sits with me, looking out over the ocean. After a few minutes we go back inside and I begin preparing what I need to do for the day while he sits in my lap and purrs.
After about an hour of hanging out with me in the morning, Musashi goes outside and runs back to his family—his mom and sister. Then the whole process repeats itself again at night. So far, he has not killed any rats, which was the reason I got him, but it seems like they are staying away from my house now that he is here. I just have to keep doing this until he gets used to staying here every night and comes on his own.
Pene is one of the kids who board in the hostel at our school. The village school, or koro vuli, consists of about 60 students from three villages. It contains classes one through eight, and they just added kindergarten this year. All the kids from the other two villages, Wainigadru and Lagi, board at the hostel. Only a few of the students from my village, Tawake, board there.
The reason people who are only a two minute walk from the school board their children in the hostel is because of care. If their children board there, they don’t need to worry about feeding them or caring for them except on weekends. So, for some of the poorer families, or those with many other duties to worry about, this is the best option.
This year I will be teaching English and health at the school, as well as a reading club. I may even try to start a physical fitness program, though the kids here play a lot and are pretty fit. I am excited to finally have some work to do, as the weeks have been really slow working just at the health center, mainly on Mondays and Tuesdays.