I'm going to the South Pacific!!

It's been a GREAT Day. I got a call from David, the placement officer for the South Pacific area today telling me he is going to send me an invitation for a business development program in the South Pacific. It was the call I've been waiting months to receive. It is the same program that I was originally nominated for last October that was cancelled. David told me they are combining the twice a year programs into a once a year departure as it is one of the smaller programs.

I had been expecting a June departure or July departure based on my last conversation with him. He said instead of trying to rush me into one of those programs and since I told him I was flexible on my departure date, he was putting me into a program in October. That news was almost as exciting as learning that I was receiving the invitation. That means I have four months between the end of my job and the time I have to leave. It also means I will be around for my parents 50th wedding anniversary in August. I am totally thrilled.

I knew that David would not be able to tell me where I would be going, but I asked anyway. As expected, he said that would be contained in the official invitation I would be receiving in the mail by the end of the month. Once I receive it, I have 10 days to accept it, which I'm positive I will do.

I was able to pick up a few clues about where I might be going in our conversation. It's a small program, which means it is not Vanuatu, which I knew was the largest in the South Pacific. And it's a business development program. That means it is either Samoa or Tonga.. Fiji, Kiribati and Micronesia/Palau don't list business development options. And both Samoa and Tonga are relatively small programs with 46 volunteers in Samoa and 49 in Tonga.

Both Samoa and Tonga have had October departure dates in the past. However, in a previous conversation with my recruiter, who served in Samoa, she had said she doubted there would be a June departure for Samoa. That leaves Tonga. I'm totally cool with either one, but I also received tonight an e-mail from the Peace Corps about Tonga. I'm sure it is a coincidence, as I get one each month, but perhaps that is it.

I also searched the blogs this evening and found departures in past years in June for Tonga but not for Samoa. Here's an interesting little tidbit about Tonga: Tonga lies three degrees east of the international date line, which was bent to include Tonga in the same time zone as its
neighbors. For this reason, Tonga is the first country in the world to welcome each new day.

While watching the news in my office tonight, one of my employees came in and said she couldn't believe the big smile on my face. I told her I had found out where I was going and she said she could tell I excited I must be about this. She also said she was "totally shocked" that I was joining the Peace Corps. I've gotten that reaction a lot from people as they are learning of my decision, but almost all have said it in a very positive way.

One of my long-time friends called me today because she had heard I was leaving. It turns out her brother was in the Peace Corps in Fiji and did two stints there, even though the Peace Corp usually doesn't do that. Someone else who I've known for a number of years told me about his experience in Bolivia in the Peace Corps. It's really refreshing and only inspires me more.

I'm thrilled about the four (almost five) month wait but I'm ready to get started.

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  1. I am also scheduled to leave for the South Pacific in October for business development. I wonder if it is the same program?

  2. That is probably Tonga. We are expecting new volunteers on October 9th.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions.


  3. What part are you in and waht types of businesses are you working with?

  4. i too leave in october or buisness development for the south pacific... still waiting on that invite tho

    any luck with you justin?