So, last week, I finally got some more specific info on what exactly is happening with pre-service training (PST).
After a quick, day long orientation in LA, I and 40 of my new friends will board a flight to Port Villa, via Auckland, New Zealand. It's a REALLY long flight. We'll be leaving on the 11th and arriving on the 13th (I guess we lose a day in there somewhere owing to the timezones). We'll stay in Port Villa for a few days, I gather, before being split up amongst four communities on the north coast of Efate Island for most of our training. We'll be staying with host families for the duration of the two months or so PST. Much of our training will be in groups, but some of it will be self-directed and all of it will be hands-on.
After that, presumably we'll all again be split up and sent to our work sites. I'm assuming its going to be pretty much one vol per village, but they've eluded to a new practice of "clustering" vols of different specialties in the same area to better combine resources and efforts, etc. So, I might not be far away from other Americans. And, I understand that Australia and New Zealand and possibly Britain have their own versions of the Peace Corps that have active vols somewhere in the country. According to my information, all Peace Corps vols operate in Shefa and Penama provinces.
My little adopted niece, Destiny Marie Stiles, was kind enough to model my Steve Irwin hat for us. I think she's just about as cute as she can be! She and her sister, Jayden, and their parents (my best friends Jason and April Stiles) came up for a visit and a swim in the freezing cold water of my parents backyard pool.