Friday, May 29, 2009

Day One

Today was jam-packed with meetings and errands, all the while trying to learn about my new summer home.

At 10am, Professor McGarvey, Susanna and I had a meeting with a few indivduals who may be able to help us recruit children to participate in our research.  The meeting was very successful, and we are all much more "cautiously optimistic" (as ProfessorMcGarvey put it) about our project.  However, with 3 of our fellow students yet to arrive and lots of time to go, I know that we will need to just see what happens.

We then went to a pot-luck lunch (we stopped to pick up some fresh fruit on the way) at the Tafuna Health Center, a clinic focused on primary care and prevention that Professor McGarvey has been deeply involved in since its inception.  After lunch, we had to take care of some errands, including making copies of our house key, opening bank accounts for our research funds, and attempting to get our cell phones working (we were unsuccessful on this last one and will have to try again next week).

All day, as we drove around, Professor McGarvey played tour guide and informed us about various parts of the island.  Tutuila has a single main road that passes from east to west along the island's southern coast.  The road connects the villages, all of which are set along the island's coast (due to the steep mountains in the center).  The speed limit is 25mph for the entire island, causing cars to slowly ease along as they pass between villages or from one side of the island to the other.  This slow driving speed fits in with the generally slow-paced speed of island life.

The immense beauty of the jagged mountain peaks covered by lush rainforest proves an interesting contrast to the much-less asthetically pleasing nature of most of the villages.  While today was rather busy, preventing me from taking pictures, I will be sure to take some and post them in the future.  On that note, you can find a link to my Picasa web album for the trip on the right under "Related Links."

We concluded our errand run with a trip to the grocery store, stocking up on most of the essentials and picking up some fresh vegetables for dinner.  The store is relatively well stocked, but fresh food is definitely harder to come by out here in the middle of the Pacific (meat is always frozen and canned food is very common).  We cooked our first meal and enjoyed a few glasses of Vailima, Samoa's very own beer.  Now, having successfully managed to stay up despite my body's confusion over time zones,  I think it is time to hit the hay.

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