Thursday, July 7, 2011

Over the Hill

This year Peace Corps has reached its 50th Anniversary and that certainly seems as good a reason as any for some celebration.  Fifty years is a very long time for any organization to thrive.  If you aren’t particularly familiar with Peace Corps, here are some interesting tidbits about its past.  Peace Corps began as the result of a challenge by U.S. university students to then Senator John F. Kennedy.  The students wanted to serve their country by living and working in developing countries.  Kennedy kept his campaign promise and Peace Corps sent its first volunteers to Ghana and Tanzania in 1961.  Since its inception, over 200,000 Americans have served in over 139 countries throughout the world.

We are serious about picking up trash. We even climb into ditches!

In order to celebrate this big birthday, Peace Corps Vava’u decided to get down and dirty with a wharf clean-up.  Environmental challenges [especially littering] are a huge issue for our country.  Environmental issues are another blog for another day so I won’t get into those now.  Just know that we have a beautiful wharf area where boats from the outer islands of Vava’u glide in and park.  There is a huge food & craft market and some food stalls where I frequently purchase an egg sandwich or some fish curry!  The wharf is definitely the hub of Saturday morning activity in Vava’u.  However, this also makes it a magnet for lots of trash …hence, our project!

Here we are attempting to separate all the trash
and recycle it! [somewhat of a new concept in Vava'u]

Everyone arrived before the Tongan sun heated up to full capacity.  We donned plastic gloves and spent a few hours picking up trash.  We recruited quite a few helpers throughout the morning and accomplished a lot.  We were also able to donate two big rubbish bins (apparently only Americans say trash can!) to the market area, so hopefully people will put them to use!  We talked a bit with passers-by about Peace Corps’ big birthday and generally just had a nice, albeit dirty and stinky, morning! 
Happy Birthday Peace Corps!   

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