August 17, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps in Nuie

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Niue: The Peace Corps in Niue: August 17, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Peace Corps in Nuie

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, August 17, 2003 - 12:24 pm: Edit Post

Peace Corps in Nuie

Peace Corps in Nuie

Peace Corps in Niue
Peace Corps has been operating in Niue since November 1994. Volunteers have been working in a variety of projects such as agriculture extension, computer consulting, teaching physical education and business development. Due to the size of the population, a cap has been set at a maximum of eight volunteers at one time. Although there is no Peace Corps office on Niue, a fully staffed office is stationed in Apia, Western Samoa, which is committed to supporting you.

Project Objectives and Volunteer Duties
In the past ten years Niue has entered the computer age. It is very common to see computers on office desks where manual typewriters and ledger books once sat. For the past two years the Government of Niue has had the services of two Peace Corps volunteers who specialized in computer operations. One Volunteer is a hardware technician who repairs and upgrades computers. The other works with national government offices developing databases. This Volunteer also established a self-paced computer training course for government workers. Both volunteers will be completing their tours shortly before you arrive. There have been two volunteers who have taught at Niue High School so far; both have been physical education teachers. One volunteer at the high school will have a year of her Peace Corps service to complete when you arrive.

The computer course at Niue High School is new. Your counterpart will be a Niuean teacher who has taught typing and word processing in-New Zealand for five years. However, he does not have specialized training in this field and is saddled with other teaching responsibilities. Your job is to work closely with him to increase his skills in all aspects of computer use including: word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics/drawing, MS DOS, networking and databases. The government uses primarily Microsoft Office software, but you can expect a hodgepodge of applications at the high school.

Your class size will be approximately 25 students. The computer classroom has approximately ten brand new 100MHz Pentium computers with MS Windows 95 and six used 386s with MS 3.11. None of the computers at the high school are networked. There are 3 Epson Stylus 820 printers, 4 dot matrix, one laser and one color printers. You may be requested to carry out basic maintenance and repairs of the school's computers and printers, as well as making recommendations for purchasing new computers. At present Niue does not have Internet access.

The principal and vice principals of the school will be your supervisors. You will have access to all the necessary teaching supplies that you will need. You may also be asked to teach some English or mathematics courses.

The goals of your assignment are:

* teaching computer and English classes;
* structuring and implementing a program that follows the New Zealand qualifications systems;
* training a counterpart and other teaching staff in how to teach computer operations.

Your day-to-day tasks are to:

* teach computer classes to 3rd and 7th form students (13-18 year old coed classes);
* teach a few English classes;
* formulate a computer curriculum and syllabus in line with the New Zealand standards;
* help with the school's extra-curricular activities.

Regular high school working hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. If your schedule permits, you may wish to pursue a community project in the area of gardening, health promotion, youth development or cross-cultural exchange. Many Niuean villages already have youth or sports organizations organized by the Department of Cultural Affairs that are involved in intervillage sports competitions.
Following a pre-departure orientation in the United States, you will participate in a 6-week intensive training program in Western Samoa and Niue. This pre-service training will contain three main components: technical, cross-cultural and language training. It will also include a personal health and safety orientation and an orientation to the Peace Corps administrative and technical support staff and resources in Western Samoa.

Pre-Service Training is divided into two parts. During the first two weeks you will concentrate on learning about the resources available to you at the Peace Corps office in Apia, Western Samoa. Then you will fly to Nine and live for a time with a Niuean family, attending language and cross-cultural sessions at the training site from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, with occasional Saturday sessions. The final week before swearing in as a volunteer will consist of on-the-job orientation to working with your host agency and site.

In cross-cultural training you will compare Polynesian, specifically Niuean, with American values, attitudes and beliefs. You will develop skills that will help you to adapt to your new culture as well as learn important facts about Niuean politics, history and society.

The pre-service training period is a time for you and Peace Corps to reexamine your commitment to being a volunteer in Niue. Attending training is not a guarantee of becoming a Peace Corps volunteer. During the process, you will be asked to examine your progress toward the goals of the training, your awareness and adaptability to Niuean culture and your progress in the language. You will be advised, counseled and evaluated by members of the training staff regarding your progress. Upon successful completion of the program, you will be sworn in as a volunteer.
Living Conditions
The Niue government provides housing for Peace Corps volunteers which is supplied with basic furniture, chairs, wardrobes and cupboard, bed, mattresses and pillows and stove. Cold running water and electricity (220 volt) are available. There are 124 kilometers of all weather road and 72 kilometers more of bush roads. No public transportation is available. However, Peace Corps will provide you with a bicycle that will probably be your main mode of transportation.

Most types of food, including imported meat, butter, cheese and frozen poultry and canned vegetables can be purchased in stores in Alofi. Fresh bread is baked daily in Alofi. Some vegetables and fruits are available at the weekly market. Because the soil is so poor it would be very difficult to grow your own vegetable garden. Meals are served at the Niue Hotel, Matavai Hotel and at a few other restaurants and snack bars on the island.

The Telecommunications Department handles mail services. You can choose to purchase a post office box or your mail will be hand carried by your village carrier. A P.O. box is most efficient and secure. Air and surface mail are available. Airmail arrives relatively quickly and surface mail arrives from the US only once every three to six months. Phone, fax and telex are available in the island.

The official currency of Niue is the New Zealand dollar (NZ $1.45 equals U.S. $1; 1995). The currency is divided into 100 cents. Notes are issued in 50, 20, 10 and 5 dollars. Coins are issued in $2, $1 and 50, 20, 10 and 5 cents. The only bank in Niue is Westpac, an Australian bank that is open between 9:00 to 2:00. All offices and most stores are closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Niueans are friendly and sociable people. Social life in Alofi consists largely of private gatherings, as the public gathering places are few. The Niue Sports Club has a nine-hole golf course and a tennis court. There are some small beaches on the island, but it is mainly jagged and rocky. There are many opportunities for snorkeling, scuba diving, cave exploration, reef and ocean fishing.
Medical Facilities
Diseases typical of the tropics occur in Niue with the most common being diarrhea, bacterial and fungal skin infections, flu and the common cold. On the positive side, there is no malaria or rabies. There is a small hospital at Tufukia, two kilometers from Alofi that provides free health services to all residents, including expatriates. There are currently two United Nations volunteer (UNV) doctors, one from India and the other from Vietnam. There are also two dentists who also work out of the hospital. There are currently no private clinics on the island. The Peace Corps has a Medical Officer in Apia, Western Samoa, who conducts yearly medical support visits. In case of a medical emergency that could not be handled in Niue, medical evacuations are possible to American Samoa, Hawaii, or possibly New Zealand. You will be given a medical kit to take care of basic first aid needs.
Niueans have had no less than a millennium to adapt to life on their island. Life in small, face-to-face communities with little privacy and no anonymity places special demands on people. They must be able to cooperate, minimize disputes and settle or smooth over such disagreements as they arise. Kindness, control of anger, politeness, a gentle demeanor and tolerance are thus highly valued traits among the Niueans. These are traits that would be well for you to emulate in your dealings with Niueans while you are a volunteer.

Living in the "fishbowl" is disconcerting for some new volunteers. Niueans will be interested in almost everything that you do. Being a novelty in the community, you will often be the subject of considerable gossip. This is understandable because there is not much outside entertainment on such a small island. Eventually, as you become more integrated into the community, you will become less the center of attention.

Volunteers should not come here expecting to change Niueans into accepting American values. Such changes can only about come from within the society, in their own way, at their own time. As a result of more contact with the industrialized world, Niueans are now in the process of adapting their culture and society to more Western customs. The beliefs and behaviors described here do, however, exemplify values that lie at the core of the culture as it has existed for thousands of years and as it lives today.

Being a Peace Corps volunteer means not just doing a job, but interacting with Niuean people in the workplace, in the shops and in social settings. Niue is in many ways like a small town with friendly people. If you make the effort you will make many friends and have an enjoyable time both on the job and off. As the amount and variety of public social stimulation is very small, you will need to find the balance of activities that will keep you productive and balanced.
Minority Volunteers
Niueans generally are very accepting of anyone who respects their culture and can integrate well into the community. Volunteers' age, religious preference, or ethnic heritage probably will not present any problems for the Niueans. Should you have questions or concerns, please discuss these subjects further privately with an American Peace Corps staff member.
Flexibility and Commitment
This assignment description was written well before you were invited to Niue. You may find that the Niuean organizational unit and staff who requested your assistance have changed totally, or in part. You may find that resources and materials initially available have disappeared. You will find that Niuean organization dynamics and supervisory/management styles are vastly different from what you have experienced in the past. You may find that agreed upon timelines and decisions have changed. Thus, your ability to be flexible is as necessary as the skills, expertise and background experiences you bring and offer to Niue. In fact, flexibility will be the skill that most determines your success and happiness over the next two years.

Peace Corps is not for everyone. More than a mere job, it requires greater dedication and commitment to serve than most other callings. It is for confident, self-starting, concerned individuals who are interested in assisting the world's developing countries and increasing human understanding across-cultural barriers. The key to satisfying work as a Peace Corps volunteer is the ability to establish successful human relations at all levels. The romance and excitement of working in a developing cormtry wear off quickly. Homesickness, the need to adapt culturally and the lack of amenities, usually taken for granted in the U.S., will discourage those who are not totally committed. If you have the personal qualities needed to accept the challenges described above and can demonstrate them in two years of service to the Niue, you will have a rewarding, enriching experience, while at the same time making a much needed contribution to the growth of a developing nation.

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Niue



By Connie Mealings ( on Saturday, November 29, 2003 - 7:54 pm: Edit Post

Fakalofa lahi atu.
Please Iam trying to contact the hospital by phone
unfortunately I do not know the phone number to
call the island from here in Melbourne.
I am trying to contact my grandma Manako. Misileki.Say merry chistmas to her from Connie
Danny and Bevan Mealings also my family at Tuapa
Fale Mele Misileki Lucy Di Nessa Poe not forgetting Hiu Moka Kalauni and children.
We wish you and all the people in Niue a merry
chistmas and a prosperous new year.

God Bless.

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