Updated on September 10th, 2017 – Now with pictures!
Having spent exactly a month at site, I’ve come to realize how important it is to have “Happy Places” – a place where you can escape to, decompress, and just enjoy your surroundings without having to worry about all the little aches and pains that accompany time at site. I suppose that this rings true for both Peace Corps or every day life back in the States, though I never really appreciated it until now.
Due to drought and other delays, I’ve spent over a week at Kris’s site. As sad as I am to be away from my school and host family, there are several silver linings to be had. One, I’ve had the opportunity to bond with my friend and island-mate and two, I have found my second Ambrym Happy Place: the nearby beach (the first being my hammock at site).
The dramatic black sand, stunning views, and interesting finds makes walking along the beach a wonderfully distracting pastime. It’s usually deserted, save for the occasional children playing or washing in the water, meaning you can enjoy nature relatively undisturbed. Paama, our nearest neighbor, is always visible on the horizon, along with the now abandoned volcanic island of Lopevi (featured below in most of the photos). On especially clear days, you can also see the islands of Epi and Malakula.
I admit that, prior to coming to Ambrym, I definitely was not the sort of person who was predisposed to long walks (I’m sure my family could share countless stories of me fighting tooth and nail to get out of similar excursions), but being constantly surrounded by others at site has brought out a more introspective side in me.
There are some places in the world that just speak to you and put your soul at ease. The beach in SE Ambrym is one of those places for me.
PS). If you ever get the chance to visit, I highly encourage you to listen to the works of Ben Howard. It makes a fantastic soundtrack.