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Chuuk

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Welcome to Truk Lagoon!

For our first six weeks in Chuuk, we eight new volunteers were sent to small Tsis Island for the second phase of our training, consisting of language and culture.

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Pete, Veronica and I outside the training house.

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"The gauntlet", where we walked through everyday on our way to training. You couldn't get through without saying "hello" at least a dozen or so times to all the kids. After the day's training ended, and we were walking home through here, the adults would always make us practice our Chuukese, never taking it easy on us.

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Water safety training. As we were part of the government, we were required to learn how to wear our life preservers. But the good part was that we got to drive the boat.

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Not all of our training days were loaded with hours of intense training. Scrabble often filled in for that.

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Ken, Veronica, me, and Dean soaking off the shores of Tsis.

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And then we met some women out fishing for dinner.

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Me, some of the host family, and Brian (2nd-year volunteer) watching the most entertaining thing on the island that day, Marci washing her clothes.

After training was over, we were officially sworn in as Peace Corps Volunteers. Then, I was placed on the island Weno for the next 2 years.

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My primary assignment was as an Agriculture and Nutrition Volunteer, assigned to the College of Micronesia-Land Grant. Here are some of the Land Grant staff, posing in front of one of our trucks that was decorated for a parade.

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Risko making lumpiahs.

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Beth, Pete (Jesuit Volunteer), and Chris at Saramen Chuuk Academy.

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In my second year out there I taught two classes of tenth grade Biology at Saramen Chuuk Academy. Here are my students dressed up for end-of-the-year ceremonies.

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I was taken aback by some of the food at first, but after awhile it all didn't seem that odd or strange. The tipping point in my assimilation was with the coffee. For it, we had only instant, but with sugar and/or powdered creamer it was made drinkable. The problem was that the ants liked the sugar too, and after you stirred some sugar into your coffee, there would be ants riding in the swirl. For the first few months I was diligent in either making a new cup or in picking the ants out. But then it just wasn't a big deal if one or two got by. After that point, I was used to other types of food that was offered.

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The topdown view of the freezer in my host-family's house. Iced tea and fresh tuna, as much as you could eat.

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Charlie with some choice meat after preparing the rest of the pig for a feast.

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My host family and neighbors prepping the pig for eating.

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Pete's host sister cutting up something.

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Ah, the dog. This is Pete's host sister clearly happy with the meal.

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A family I met when Pete and I walked the perimeter of the island.

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Pete out on his kayak.

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The view back across the lagoon from Laura's island of Tol. Mine is centered in the far back.

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The view from the Peace Corps office.

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My host sister and brothers helping to clear the yard for planting.

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The end result, beans and laundry. My room is through the open door.

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The sunset from my yard. Not too bad.

Click here to go to Chuuk 2!