Sep 18, 2004

At the North Carolina Peace Corps Association picnic this afternoon, I met a young woman who is soon to embark on her PC service. She leaves next month for Vanuatu. Good luck, Tara. Evan, who is an RPCV from Vanuatu and now the campus recruiter for N.C. State, was also there. Both Tara and Evan indulged my homesickness for Vanuatu and listened to my stories of Paama. God, how I want to go back and see my wantok1 friends.

A few weeks ago, I bought a machete at Home Depot, and I used my bush knife to clean the ivy from the trees in our front yard. It felt so good to swing that knife, just as I’d used it everyday on Paama to cut banana trees, trim the grass, split navarra (fallen coconuts in which the insides develop a sweet, spongy filling) for the pigs. Abdul, my neighbor and a native of Sierra Leone, wandered across the street and asked to borrow the knife, and later I looked over to see him clearing brush from his yard. I imagine he was feeling a little homesick, too.

Speaking with Tara and Evan made me think of Chad and Kristen Metzler, our fellow volunteers who used to live on the other side of Paama and who now live just two hours away. I called, and quickly learned about their news: Landon Jasper Metzler was born Sept. 10 at a healthy eight pounds. Congratulations to them. Chad’s also busy with a new private school he started.

Chad and Kris were excellent teachers at the Lulep Primary School; from their classrooms, they could look over to Lopevi Volcano as it belched ash. Now they get to burp Landon and watch him spit up. Tufala wantok blong mi i glad we i glad.

1 Wantok is a bislama and pidgin word meaning associate, pal, buddy, partner-in-crime. See this page for an example of bislama.

Anton Zuiker

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