WorldTeach volunteer Jackie Rakers has been in American Samoa for nearly a year. Read on to hear about her daily life filled with the fun and excitement of neighborhood children, care packages, dances, holidays, and unique moments like viewing the blood moon lunar eclipse…

If you give the adorable village children each a marshmallow, they will ask for another. Once you give them another, they will ask if they can come inside for a drink of water. Once you let them inside for a drink, they will ask to clean your house. After they have done the dishes and swept the floor, they will ask to climb trees until it rains and they are called home.

But seriously, I may have gotten the children hooked on marshmallows. Oops. Many of them had never had marshmallows until they caught me making s’mores over our leaf pile a few months back. I can’t wait to see their faces when they get Peeps this weekend thanks to my parents.

Thursday the boat came with goodies (specifically cheese and mail!). The kids will love the Fun-Dip!

Friday night was the senior class siva which was held in the gym at the high school. It was conducted very similarly to the Faleasao siva, with each student doing a dance to raise money and plenty of opportunities for everyone else in attendance to dance as well. School dances in American Samoa are very different from school dances in America; they are community events complete with each student’s parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents. Everyone had a great time and about $3,200 was raised for the students’ graduation expenses.

Sunday was Palm Sunday so a special island-wide church service was held at the church here in Faleasao. Mikaela, the cutest baby ever, was my official photographer. She got a few pictures of the service before discovering she could reverse the camera and take her own photo.

As I’m sure you all know, last night was the blood moon lunar eclipse. Manu’a had a front row seat and it was amazing. The eclipse was spectacular, and in case that wasn’t enough, we used the school telescope to get a better look at not only the moon but at Mars, Saturn and 4 of its moons, and a few star clusters. The whole thing was breathtaking. The sky here is something I will never get sick of. On any given night I can walk out my front door, lay down on the beach under the clearly visible Milky Way and count shooting stars. Photographing the moon without a tripod to keep the camera still proved rather difficult but I got a few cool pictures of the eclipse as it progressed.

-Jackie Rakers, WorldTeach American Samoa 2013-2014
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