Greetings from Pohnpei!
My first few days on the island have been an adventure, I arrived on Thursday after over 30 hours of travel and met briefly with my OneReef contact Wayne Andrew (yes his last name being my first name has become a bit of a joke). Wayne, who is from Palau, is visiting Pohnpei and staying at the same hotel as me. He stopped by for a brief hello and told me to get some rest. The next day we met up and went to meet the Director of the Conservation Society of Pohpei, Eugene Joseph, we agreed to set up a meeting with everyone on Monday to go over the best way to use my skills.
After our meeting with the Director, Wayne took me around on a tour of Pohnpei. I quickly realized that Wayne might as well have been a MIIS student at some point in time as his ability to switch between multiple languages is amazing. In the span of a few seconds I’ve heard him go from speaking Pohnpeian with community members, Palauan with his wife, and English with me. Wayne also has an impressive resume which includes being a scientific diver (self taught as his original trade was carpentry) and being a congressman in Palau. On our trip, Wayne and I began speaking to a group of Jesuit volunteers from the United States, I had been feeling very homesick so between meeting other American and Wayne’s hospitality I was beginning to feel more at home. I exchanged whatsapp numbers with some of them and Wayne agreed to take all of us to Ant Atoll on Tuesday.
Later we went to a local market in a village about 2 hours away to drink Sacau (cava) and meet with the grandchildren of a local chief. We didn’t get back to our hotel until very late but it was definitely an amazing way to get to know some of the locals.
Today we met up with two other families I will be working with and went to Nan Madol, one of the most beautiful archaeological sites I’ve ever seen with large stones and huge walls, we walked around to the back of it and over some small rocks to a small reef where we swam for a bit. I managed to cut myself on the rocks getting out but it was still a great time in a beautiful location. After Nan Madol we went to a local waterfall where we swam some more and I took some photos. I have been amazed by the friendliness of all the people I have met here, everyone treats me like family, giving me food and drink wherever I go. I will try to post more later but internet is spotty and slow, I am currently writing this in the hotel restaurant, one of the few places I have internet until I start working in the office. Anyway I just got invited for sacau.
Goodbye for now!