The close of the New Years celebration is just around the corner. In Fiji, bringing in the New Year consists of a two to three week celebration of dumping water on one another, dancing, drinking kava, singing, and drinking beer. Here in Yalobi, the end of the New Years celebration will be on Friday the 16th. Until the 16th, I’ll have to avoid being thrown in the mud, drink a lot of kava, and will be alone on the teachers compound.
I expect the teachers to return to the school compound the weekend before school starts… Fiji time. School resumes on the 19th of January, but there is plenty for the teachers to sort out before this time. Due to this, I am surprised (only slightly surprised- Fiji time) that teachers wait until the last minute to return to the island. There is a housing issue that they have to sort out because the teacher quarters is currently short by one house, new teachers have to move into their houses on the island, and they have to determine which grade everyone will be teaching this year. I am told that teachers will be assigned their class during the meeting that takes place the day before school starts. In addition to these issues, I am not sure about our water situation! It sounds like some more water will have to be brought from the mainland as our tanks are getting extremely low, and it is a boarding school. We need enough water here for all the teachers and 100 boarding students.
The head teacher, my boss, will be transferring to a mainland school this year. The island schools are typically assigned to teachers who are just starting their career or who become new head teachers. The minimum amount of time to stay at a school (before applying for a transfer) is 3 years. Because life can be tough on the island and very isolated, often times teachers only stay here in Yalobi for the minimum of 3 years before transferring to the mainland. This means that the turn over rate here for teachers is very high. I am sad to see the head teacher leave and will now have to re-establish my role in the school with the new head teacher when he comes to the school compound the weekend before school starts.
Overall, life is great here on the island, but I am anxious for school to start and to begin teaching!