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...but it doesn't. None of the viewpoints or opinions expressed on this blog reflect the views and opinions of the United States government, the Peace Corps or anybody else besides me!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Two Weeks on Pentecost: Part One

One of the really great things about being in the Peace Corps is having almost absolute freedom to do whatever you want (as long as whatever you want doesn't require electricity or internet access). Another great thing about Peace Corps service is that it takes place within a sprawling, primeval wilderness, ripe for exploration and adventure. So, back in May I decided I would take advantage of these unique life circumstances and go for a little vacation.

Pentecost (if you'll consult your Vanuatu map) is the large, skinny island up north. Three of my very favorite Peace Corps volunteers are stationed there: Alex & Lucas and Ryan. My plan was simple and deliciously open-ended and spontaneous. Really, my plan was to not make a plan. But the general idea was I'd take a ship up to visit Alex & Lucas first for an unspecified amount of time and then go visit Ryan (mode of transportation unspecified) for another unspecified amount of time.

Alex and Lucas' site is near Nambwarangiut on the northern part of the island. You'll note the lack of roads in the general vicinity. It's a clump of little villages in the middle of the jungle, as cut off from civilization as you can get apart from Antarctica (an adventure destination my intrepid friends have actually called home as well, but that's another story).

Alex and Lucas had been in Vila for a few weeks doing PC training and such. They elected to take a rain check on the Peace Corps plane ticket in favor of the MV Brisk, the same cargo ship I took back to Epi after my own training in February. I jumped on the Brisk when it reached Lamen Bay. The guy in the picture is Lucas. He's a few years older than me and a native of Ohio. Before joining the Peace Corps, he worked at the American Antarctica base (living "on the ice" in the local parlance). He's a business volunteer, an avid gardner and an accomplished chef.

The ride on the Brisk wasn't nearly as unpleasant as last time. As you can tell from the picture of Lucas, we sat up near the bridge this time instead of down below in the filthy sardine can hold. There's was a nice breeze and considerably more leg room. The 18 hour trip from my island to theirs flew by. Early on in the voyage, we had a rather spectacular view of mighty Lopevi, a volcano just off the coast of my island whose fearful blast radius would easily encompass my little hut.
Also pictured is Alex. She and Lucas are newlyweds. They met on a hiking trail somewhere in the US South, fell in love and did a stint "on the ice" together in Antarctica. Alex is a health volunteer like me. She is also an avid gardener and an accomplished chef. She's very cheerful and funny and she reminds me of my Aunt Nancy.

Here's a picture of Alex and Lucas in their home. As you can see, it's made of the same stuff as my hut except they have nice concrete floors.

1 comment:

  1. Hey! So I am a freshman in college and just today I heard about the Peace Corps. I was looking at the countries and Vanuatu is one that I am really interest in. So, I just want to let you know that I admire you for going there, I hope you are having a great (or had) a great time there!!
    Also, how hard was the change for you? What were some major changes you had to adjust to?
    Thanks for sharing!!