Saturday, March 28, 2009

Week # 5

We have had an interesting week. The weather has finally changed for the better, but the men (or most of us) had an outside job raking the soccer field which needs de-thatching once per year. Now that doesn't sound like much, but we did about fill a 20' x 8' x 6' dumpster with the rakings. The de-thatching needs to be done both ways and in total it took 2 1/2 days. I missed the 1/2 day due to my office job, so naturally I received some ribbing from fellow volunteers.

The speaker at Rotary this week talked about the 103 islands to the northwest of the main five Hawaiian islands. Frankly, I didn't know there were other islands. One of the 103 has four people who were granted a permit to live for a year, and a single female has set up a home on another, apparently through a strange set of circumstances. The remainder have no inhabitants.The speaker was going on how one island was 15 million years old and another was 12 million years old, so obviously he doesn't read the same Bible as I do, but it was nonetheless interesting to hear his story. He belongs to an organization which rows to these islands, to discover and research. A helicopter would be an easier mode of transportation to explore the islands, at least in my opinion.

We had a nice breakfast this morning at a local hangout, 2 for one if you're there before 9:00am. The picture shows the group we went with.

To-morrow we are renting a car and going touring. Rheo and Sally Thompson and their daughter from Statford are vacationing at Honolulu and we invited them to come to Maui for the day. To our delight they accepted, so we get a chance to play tourist/guide and probably see some new things ourselves.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Week # 4

This week one of us had a birthday and we were treated to dinner by two daughters. They chose the restaurant, or gave a choice of two, they made a good choices and a place we went to we had not previously enjoyed. It was a nice treat.

I have started to do some courier driving which involves picking up and delivering people to the airport. These people are generally faculty who are coming here to teach. They are usually very interesting people, so the opportunity to chat for 20 minutes or so alone is a great opportunity. The airport is about 12 miles away, so not a cumbersome drive. Faculty usually stay about seven days. The drives are generally during the day, but they can be just about anytime. I will get to know the Maui airport well as late flights happen, but when you check the airline website, waiting times are reduced.

Our current session is heading into thier second week and while small, they seem like a great group. It is always fun to watch how the group develops.

Friday night was a pool dinner, and this picture shows Marlene, in blue, helping with setup. I was instructing from our lanai??

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Week #3

We went for breakfast this morning to the SeaWatch Restaurant in Wailea, the trendiest area of Maui. The restaurant is part of the Wailea Golf Club and green fees are $199. The restaurant was surprisingly reasonably priced for the area. If you are going to eat out, breakfast is definitely the meal to do it. Unfortunately, the weather could have been better, but the view was spectacular, and we were with two other couples who provided good company, one from Oregon and one from Winnipeg.
Afterwards, we stopped at the Shops of Wailea, also very trendy – “Gucci, Rolex, Tommy Bahama, etc”. Marlene ordered her outfit for Katrina’s wedding, so that item is off her to do list. She will miss the looking, with still nine weeks here to do it in!
On Wednesday I attended a social of the Kihei-Wailea Rotary Club, which is the Club I attend while here. Their weekly meeting was Thursday this week, so they could attend an Interact meeting at a school upcountry, so thus the social on their regular meeting day. I met a Rotarian on Wednesday who is a realtor/property manager who works in the Wailea area, and his numbers are mind boggling. In his property management business, he only does 30 day rentals, but his rates are from $9,000 to $35,000 per month. He thinks his $35m unit; at $1,250 per night is exceptional value. Why anyone who can afford property of this value would want some stranger sleeping in his bed is beyond me. On the other hand, maybe that is the only way they can afford it, by renting out when they don’t use. He did add that his occupancy rate is only 35-40%! (That's the occupancy, not the vacancy rate)
We are greeting new participants this weekend and it is a small class. Not only is funding tight, but getting participants to leave careers for four weeks to attend here, is also a challenge. We always look forward to meeting new participants from Asia, Africa, Latin and South America.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Week #2

I know this won’t garner much support from you people in Ontario, but our weather here has stunk almost since we arrived – but when it warms up, we will be complaining about the heat. The temperature is to reach 80 this weekend, but that is as high as it’s been since we arrived.
We had Convocation this week and all the volunteers were invited – normally only half are invited since there usually two Convocations per month. With cutbacks, there is now only one class graduating each month. Besides challenges with funding, participants are hesitant to leave work for four weeks because of uncertain job scenario.

Convocation remains a very special night with a great meal and many happy faces from those graduating. The training is intensive – usually 8:00 am – 7:00 pm, and many nights there is group assignments. Since most participants are business leaders, many are not completely cut off from work, with laptops, blackberries, Skype, etc. We did have a corporate banker from Bulgaria who claimed he was completely disconnected, but he didn’t convince me. So 23 graduates join the over 74,000 HI alumni worldwide. Departures of participants and remaining faculty are this weekend and our new group don’t start arriving until next weekend. So we have a week with the building empty except for volunteers. The dining room is closed and we will have eating out, a family dinner, and scratch up what you can.

We have a devotion each week with one of the faculty and this week it was a lecturer from the United Arab Emerates. He talked about the situation in that part of the world
This is a quiet weekend activity wise – one of my goals for this term is a helicopter ride to the Haleakala Crater, so we priced it out. Because of the slowdown in tourism, activities like it are priced much lower. So there are some benefits from a weak economy.
Once again our time here is going quickly, is very rewarding ith the work and meeting new friends.