Staging, Fiji, & Arriving in Vanuatu

All right, so I know there is at least one person who is waiting for me to post something here, so I am going to force myself to do that… right now. For the most part, I’ve been without an internet connection, but I’m currently visiting my permanent site, which happens to have a computer lab. Here’s a brief summary of the beginning of my Peace Corps experience.

Staging

I left Michigan on April 14th for Staging. Staging was in the Los Angeles area. During staging, I got the chance to meet the rest of the Group 29 Literacy Project (LP) and Community Health (CH) volunteers. We did some ice breakers, took some quizzes, made some skits, and got to know a little bit more about what we were heading into to.

Trip to Fiji

Our flight to Vanuatu included a stop in Fiji. Originally, we were told that we should not get our bags in Fiji, but because we arrived so much earlier than our departure time, we were told that we would have to re-check in. Luckily, we got a chance to leave the airport and the Peace Corps director in Fiji arranged for us all to take showers and relax a little at a nearby resort. After finally getting past security, we had a few more issues. We were told the small plane we were taking could only hold one of our bags, so most of us had to wait a couple extra days for our bags to arrive. Our flight was also delayed, but we did get some meal vouchers, so I got the chance to try Burger King in Fiji. It tasted like Burger King.

Arrival in Vanuatu

After Fiji, we had a short flight to Port Vila, Efate Island, Vanuatu. When we arrived, a ton of Peace Corps staff members were there to greet us. Everyone in G29 got a necklace, a coconut, and a lavalava (wrap). Then we headed off in vans to the Holiday Inn Resort in Port Vila. The Holiday Inn Resort is usually only used by the Peace Corps for special occasions like Close of Service, however, because of a recent tropical cyclone, we ended up using it for the first leg of our training. During that first week, we got more staff introductions, some information about safety, security, and health issues in Vanuatu, as well as our first Bislama lessons. After that, the LP volunteers headed to the nearby village of Epao, while the CH volunteers went to the island of Pele to continue training.

Application Timeline

I know that a lot of prospective Peace Corps applicants are very interested in these, so here’s my application timeline.

Application Date: May 22nd, 2016
Under Consideration: May 31st, 2016
Interview Request: June 2nd, 2016
Interview: June 7th, 2016
Invitation: October 12th, 2016
Medical Clearance: January 14th, 2017
Legal Clearance: February 1st, 2017
Expected Staging Date: April 18th, 2017

As you can see, it all went pretty fast until my interview. After that, I had to wait around for a while. However, the know by date for my position was December 1st, 2016, so the wait could have been much longer.