Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Day 6

I got up at 7 AM, and Simon cooked bacon and eggs for our breakfast.

After breakfast, I decided to visit Anneka.  She was staying at her parents' house near the cemetery, so I walked over there.  She saw me on the front porch and invited me in.  Her mother Isabel was there.  Their house was really nice with a modern-looking kitchen.  Isabel served me some tea, and the three of us chatted for a bit.

Anneka's father Alan is a British diplomat and moves around all over the world.  The British had asked him if he wanted to work on Pitcairn for a year, and he accepted the position.  On Pitcairn, he is the administrator, who oversees the island for the British.  In essence, he is one step above the local mayor.  The administrator is always an outsider on rotation to prevent attachment and corruption.  Isabel does not officially work on Pitcairn, but she informally chats with all the islanders and gets a sense of their needs and wants, enabling her to help Alan in his role.

Isabel invited me to stay for lunch.  While she prepared the food, Anneka and I played some two-player board games.  We were later joined by Alan, and the four of us ate lunch together.  Lunch consisted of cauliflower from Vaine's garden covered in cheese, and baked breadfruit.  The baked breadfruit tasted better than the raw breadfruit that I had in Tahiti, but it was still bland.

After lunch, I asked Anneka if she wanted to visit the school with me.  She accepted, and the two of us walked to the school on the outskirts of town.  The school is a small building with a small playground in front.  We entered the building and greeted Jim, the school's only teacher.  Jim is from New Zealand, teaching on Pitcairn for a one-year rotation.  He follows the New Zealand curriculum.

The school currently has five children - Emile, Ryan, Adrianna, Cushana, and Isabel, ages 11, 10, 8, 6, and 5 respectively.  Since all the children are at different grade levels, Jim does not teach with lectures.  Instead, Jim sits with each child individually.

When Anneka and I entered the school, each child was sitting at their own desk, doing their own work.  But once they saw us, they were eager to show us around.  They showed us stuff that they had drawn.  Ryan showed me some of his writing, about what living on Pitcairn meant to him.  He also showed me his little garden behind the school.  He also showed me the school's computer lab, which was surprisingly equipped for such a small school.  I asked him questions about what they learn, and it sounded like a pretty normal school, apart from being in one of the most isolated places in the world.

Jim asked me and Anneka to tell the children about our lives, and what it was like to grow up in our countries.  To the children, Pitcairn was their entire world, and Jim wanted them to hear what the outside world was like first-hand.

I told them about growing up in the US, and how my schools had lots of children with big classrooms.  I told them about freeways, malls, and cell phones.  I told them about my previous job as a web developer.  I told them about snow.

Anneka told them about growing up all over the world, being the daughter of a diplomat.  She told them about her current life in Australia, and about her job in the medical field.  She told them about her hobbies, and what people do for fun in Australia.

The children asked us a lot of questions.  They seemed quite interested in the outside world.  I had trouble imagining what it would be like growing up in a place like Pitcairn.  But the children would be exposed to the outside world soon enough.  After finishing the high school curriculum, they would likely go overseas for university, likely to New Zealand.  And most likely, they would not return to Pitcairn except for a visit.  And this is probably the biggest danger to Pitcairn's future - a population the cannot continue when the entire labor force ages out of existence.

Anneka and I played four square with the children.  Ryan, the only boy at the school, played very aggressively and basically bullied the girls.  I gave Ryan a taste of his own medicine.

After school, I brought Anneka to my house.  Anneka loved whales, and I could see whales from my front porch, so we looked for whales together.

View from Ship Landing Point
She eventually went home to write postcards, so I went for a walk.  First I went to Ship Landing Point for a good view of the island.  Next I went to Dave's Lookout for another good view.  Then I went to Aute Valley, the island's largest flat area where I found a volleyball court and a tennis court.

I played two more games of Scrabble with Simon before bed.

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