March 3 – Catching Up

Installing the terminals in the library requires that I make some network cables. I’ve never done this, but have a general idea of what’s required. It’s a lot of fiddling with really small wires. I really need a “cable tester” to know if I’ve done what I need to. There were a couple of old testers, but I couldn’t get them to work. I phoned “Computer Man”, the local computer store and found out that they would charge me $90 for something that should have cost less than $30. I cancelled.

One of the cable testers needs a battery that looks like half of a AA battery. I just found out today (Sunday) that it’s a common battery and I should have no problem getting it. 

I can’t do anything else about installing the workstations until I have the cable tester, so on Thursday I began to help out in the senior English classroom. The teacher has spent most of his career in technical and university classrooms, so adolescents seem quite a different kettle of fish. I hope I can show him some the techniques I use to keep control of a classroom of 16 year olds.

The English teacher, Harry, is teaching a writing unit. I love working on writing almost more than anything else (top would be analyzing a film), so I had the best Thursday working with a table of girls on their letters to the editor. Two of them were excellent writers – they’d be high flyers in a Saskatoon classroom. The other two had the typical inability of a 16 year old to express their ideas in clear, logical sentences – again, something typical in Saskatoon.

I met a teacher named Tyrone – he’s from Sri Lanka and has been 11 years in the Cook Islands, including stints on Manihiki and Penryn islands. He’s the new principal at Puka Puka, but the air strip got damaged and he can’t fly in until it’s repaired – another three weeks. So, he hangs around Titikaveka College.

Tyrone took me snorkelling today (Sunday) at Muri beach. This was the first time I tested out my new snorkelling equipment. I was very annoyed last year when I used snorkelling gear borrowed from tour operators and such. I kept inhaling sea water.

So, I wanted some better snorkelling gear this time. There is a dive shop in Saskatoon and that’s where I went for my gear. Have you ever had the experience of going to the sales counter and the total of what you want to buy is way higher than you expected? What do you do? I went ahead and spent a lot of money of snorkelling equipment.

As I had a right to expect, the gear is excellent. No inhaling sea water, flippers that really move me along. My first time out was a success (except when I started and managed to kick off a flipper – it took Tyrone and I about 15 minutes to find it).

Phoebe, don’t read this paragraph. Almost everyone on CI rides a scooter. The maximum speed on the one road that goes around the island is 50 K. No one wears a helmet. I’ve been stuck a couple of times where refusing a ride would have been impolite. Heading down to Muri beach with Trevor was one such example. Riding as a passenger on a scooter going 50K an hour is terrifying. I clench body parts that usually don’t get clenched. I have visions of head injuries.

So part of the deal of getting to know the locals really well is sometimes doing something that rationally doesn’t make sense. Maybe next year I’ll bring a helmet. Or, I could simply rent a car and avoid the whole brain injury thing.

 Friday was a feast day at Titikaveka College. The school had invited two other schools to the feast. The Titikaveka students spent most of the day preparing food, cooking it, playing a frisbee game against the other school, and eating the feast. Below are lots of photos and videos of the day. It was amazing.

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The sign for the school

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The school from the road

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Students getting ready for the feast.

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Preparing taro leaves.

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Girls in charge of making plates out of Coconut fronds.

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Students can be silly all over the world.

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Taro

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Preparing the chicken. The school bought the meat, while the students provided everything else.

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Sweet potatoes

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Pumpkin

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Breadfruit

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Preparing the fire pit

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Weaving plates

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Popo (papaya)

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Grating coconut

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Boys being slack (it happens all over the world).

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You can put your head under a water tap.

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Putting Breadfruit on the fire pit.

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Setting up

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Selfie!

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Setting up

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My plate of food

 

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