Saturday, December 20, 2008

Getting closer...

Well, the Xmas holidays have started! Last week I resigned from my job. It was a bit sad, but lessened by the fact that I'll be keeping in touch with so many people and my class can keep in touch through this blog. We had a lovely end of year lunch, with great food and many kind words said.

In Tokelau, if a couple want to live together they must be married. We are awaiting confirmation on whether simply being engaged will be enough, or if we too will have to get married. This meant that on Thursday night, along with celebrating the end of school, we were celebrating my 'engagement' to Matt! There was lots of dancing to be done!

Over the past two days I have cleared out my classroom. This took a lot longer than normal due to the fact that I didn't want to store useless resources that I hadn't used in the past two years. Lots of recycling was done! As I locked up the school for the last time I felt very positive about my time at the school and how good it was to leave on such a positive note and to be off on such a big adventure with VSA.

Now we just have to get through Xmas, pack up our house and make sure we don't miss our flights to Samoa in January!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Last week at my NZ school (hopefully!)

Last week I was allowed to tell my class that I'm off to Tokelau. There were some disappointed, yet excited children, with so many questions. I could only answer their questions based on what I've heard and read online, no doubt my knowledge of the place is truly lacking and I'll laugh at how little I knew before departing when I get home again!

Here is a card that one of my students made for me. I love it!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Donated Mac's

I have of course been suffering already from the thought of having to return my Mac to the school I am leaving soon. My Mac and I have been inseparable since birth... it's birth, back in March! Our relationship is a beautiful thing! It got me to thinking...

In Tokelau I will need a laptop to help me organise my lessons and assessment. My class this year have loved blogging and having a real audience for their writing. I thought, 'Why not set up a class blog in Tokelau, and get the students communicating with schools in New Zealand?!' It would give the students in Tokelau such a wider view of their world. They are currently so isolated, but over the past few years have been brought online.

I have emailed Renaissance Education (RED) to see if they would have some Christmas spirit and donate some ex-lease MacBooks to each of the three schools in Tokelau. I hope to hear back from them soon with a positive result! Fingers crossed...!

Do any of you have any ideas about the possible use of ICT on a small remote tropical island?!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Busy times...

It is the end of a very hectic week! Along with thirty portfolios on the way, we've also had to juggle blood tests, chest x-rays, dental appointments, full medicals and copious vaccinations at the travel doctor. I'm so lucky my principal was happy for me to take any time I needed to squeeze in these appointments to my week.

The week before last included three day in Wellington attending the VSA pre-departure briefing. Was so amazing to meet all of the other VSA volunteers heading off to other amazing places such as Tanzania, the Solomons, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Cambodia, to do equally amazing jobs: Landscape gardeners, teachers, youth workers, librarians etc.... Was great to meet the UNIVOL volunteers, graduates from Otago University heading off to Tanzania and Vanuatu. What a great opportunity for them!

At the end of each day we were all inspired and exhausted! There was so much to discuss and think about: international development, capacity building, how to keep ourselves safe from all sorts of creepy crawlies, snakes, malaria and other diseases... luckily many of these aren't on Tokelau. We do however, have to try and de-mosquito our home... we will be exposed to the beautiful mosquito that carries dengue fever. We also discussed some of the many situations we may find our selves in such as civil unrest, cyclones and any other potential disasters that mean we may have to evacuate. I think we feel as prepared as we can at this stage.... Mental note: must remember to findout cyclone emergency proceedure when we get to atoll!

Any spare time I have is spent getting quotes from jewelry suppliers and researching Dremel tools. I'm pretty excited about the opportunity to spend less time running the treadmill in the rat race and nurturing my creative side. I can't wait to learn the Tokelaun art of weaving.

All going to plan, this coming week we will get the all-clear from both of our medicals. I'm just pleased that I passed being able to touch my toes! I just can't wait to find out what our living situation will be like!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Yippee! Tokelau here we come!!!!

Two months after applying for the Teacher Trainer and Primary Teacher position on Tokelau, Matt and I have been accepted by Volunteer Services Abroad, and are looking towards our future: two years of living on the remote Pacific atoll of Fakaofo.

Tokelau is a New Zealand dependency, reached only by a 30 hour boat journey from Apia, Samoa. We're lucky; of the three atolls, ours is the closest to Samoa; the others, Nukunonu and Atafu, are up to three days on board.

We head off sometime early in 2009. This week we have a four day briefing in Wellington to learn a whole range of skills to survive in a remote and often challenging environment. We know that the two years ahead of us won't always be easy, so we are glad that we will have each other for support!

While on Fakaofo we both hope to study extramural through Massey; I hope to begin my Masters in Education with a focus on education in developing countries and Matt will hopefully be able to find something environmentally related.

We are currently trying to compile a list of what we might like to take with us. We figure that if we take a laptop we can load it with movies and I plan to take my jewelry making tools... what little I have! I have placed an article in the Silversmiths Guild newsletter to see if anyone can help with donating to me some tools they no longer use. Fingers crossed this all goes to plan, as other wise I'll not be able to make jewelry for two years!

With four weeks of school left in which to get my assessment done, along with having to pack up my class, the house, go to Dunedin for Xmas and then head up to Blenheim, life is seeming pretty hectic!

I just can't wait to arrive in Samoa and begin our big adventure! I'm hanging out for 'island time'!