Monday, November 28, 2005

First package mailed......

Hello Group 75 fellow parents,

I am Janice Bradford, the proud mother of PCT, Marques Stewart. I mailed Marques his first package from me via USPS International Air. The weight of the package came in at 19lbs and the USPS charged $85.00 for their services. They said it should be there in two weeks. My hope is that Marques receives it before Christmas and after he has return from his 3 week stay at the village. I was told by the USPS that once the box left the United States, I could not received a confirmation or track it online. Since MJ as been on this great adventure I have not had the pleasure of hearing his voice on the telephone. I am grateful that modern technology allows Marques and I to communicate and not spend an arm & leg to do so. I would rather spend the money on sending him packages. As a child, he always loved to get mail.


Hi parents of Group 75
I read some of your great hints and ideas already. It is up and down for Sara. I think it is homesickness. She has 3 brothers that she is close to ; grandparents ,6 neices and nephews ,and lots of good friends that she misses.
Talk to you soon. God Bless
Jeff & Donna Monroe

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday, strange though it was without our PCT's. I'm anxious to hear how their festivities went as I expect are you.

We haven't spoken with Mari since they left for their final 3 weeks in the village and are planning to call her sometime mid-week this week. (Her family has a phone she said we can call and try to reach her.) If any of you has news to share from successful Falevao contact we'd love to hear it or if you wish us to pass on a message from you to your son or daughter, please let me know and we'll try to do so if our call is successful. We plan to try to call on Wednesday evening (November 30th).

One news item, we finally received our first airmail letter from Mari - mailed about 4 weeks before it arrived here and she received some cookies I sent her airmail (took about 2 weeks). Nothing we sent by ship has arrived, including 2 boxes she sent herself about a month before they left. I'm curious to know if anyone has had more success.

Best, Rudi and Al

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ed and Mary Steyh

Hello Group 75 Bloggers

We are Ed and Mary Steyh, Julya's parents. This is a great idea!! We also have been reading all the blogs to try to get some idea of what the trainees, and Julya, are going through.

Julya is the oldest of two children. She has a brother two years younger. She grew up, and we still live, on Vashon Island. It's in Puget Sound, a short 15 minute ferry ride from Seattle. Vashon is somewhat rural and Julya has previously said that it's like living in a fishbowl because everyone knows you and knows what's going on. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in history.

Julya has always been interested in volunteering and working with younger people. She has been involved in Young Life as an adult leader and several years ago volunteered a summer to work at Wild Horse, a Young Life camp in eastern Oregon.

We have talked to her several times in Apia. We have yet to see the phone bill so have no idea of the damage. Thanks for the info on the phone card. It sounds great and will save us some money.

I spent some time online researching flights to and from Apia as Julya is going to a wedding in Cabo, Mexico in May. The cheapest flight by far is the weekly Air New Zealand/United Airlines flight from LA to Apia and back (it's the same flight the group 75 trainees took). It leaves LA every Tuesday around 7:30 pm and leaves Apia every Monday evening at 10:45 pm. The roundtrip fare is around $1100. There are other flights from Apia to the states via Hawaii or New Zealand, but these fares are over $2000.

Again, this blog is a great idea. We look forward to keeping in touch and sharing.

Ed and Mary Steyh


Hi Again,

We were having some problems with "spam" in our comments, so I've changed the comments settings so that only blog members can post to the comments. Please let me know if you have any problems posting. Sorry for any confusion this has caused. I've posted responses (in the comments below) to both the telephone and shipping postings.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

overseas calls

Hello All!

Someone mentioned in an email, the website for the most economical overseas phone cards to purchase. I cannot recall what it was and can't find the email. Could anyone help me? I have used calldepot to call my other son in Africa, but seems the one mentioned by one of you was less expensive. Thanks so much.'

Ellen Smith (Joshua's Mom)

Monday, November 07, 2005

Carla Lansford

Hi Everyone!
This is a great idea. I am Andrew's mom. It is so nice to know a little bit about the other families that Andy is serving with. I have enjoyed so much the websites for all of our children. I think I get more information about Andy from everyone elses, than I get from Andy's website.
Andy is the oldest of three children in our family. He has two sisters, Janeen and Lynette. Janeen is married to a wonderful young man named Jason, and teaches in Arcadia. Lynette just finished her degree and is currently seeking career options. Jack and I work in our family business building cabinet doors. Jack is also very involved with our church worship team. I occasionally make costumes for plays.
Andy was born and raised in Arcadia, CA, where we currently reside. He is a great person. Everyone that meets him says he is the nicest guy. I have to concur. I kind of like the guy myself. He has always been a joy to be around. He has a sweet spirit. He is too smart for his own britches, but he is still a good guy anyway.
The only news I have is about sending media. The post office will send boxes of media for a minimal charge. It's called mbag. You bring the box to the post office, addressed like normal and ask the clerk to send it by mbag or mediamail. They might ask you to open the box, because you are only allowed to send media. They will take the box and put it into a big bag. It should cost $1 per pound with an 11 pound minimum. Hope this helpful to some of you.
See ya, Carla

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Thanks for the invitation!!

Hello fellow parents of Peace Corps Volunteer Group 75!

I am Sebastian Stewart and Marques' father. Similar to Ellen, Joshua's Mom, I live in a suburb of St. Paul, MN. I am looking forward to our communications with each other and about about our chldren and their experiences. Of course, I have already obtained interesting tidbits of info from Marques' blog. Like all of you, I have been blessed with a great child who has manufactured and implemented his dream to be a part of the Peace Corps. and is now expanding his horizons through that experience.

Marques has enjoyed giving back to his communities since he was in grade school. He has demonstrated a particular interest in working with youngsters and teen-agers. I could tell you more, but you probably don't have the time it would take for me extoll all of his virtues!! Needless to say, all of our kids have a thread (or threads) running through them of many commonalities.

I have no new, or what I would term valuable, info to share at this time. So, I'll sign off.

Sebastian Stewart

Welcome from Mari's dad

Hi everyone,
I’m Al, Mari’s dad. I just wanted to say hello and welcome to everyone. This is certainly an exciting adventure. Our whole family has been following Mari’s Peace Corps application, acceptance, and now training for over a year. This has been an incredibly eventful time for her, finishing her special ed teaching in Spanish Harlem in New York City, a move back home for a few months, and now the tales of the South Pacific. It is a real joy to be able to read the thoughts and hear about the experiences of the Group 75 participants and to see their photos. I look forward to keeping in touch with you through this blog and sharing our experiences.
Just in case you want to know more about our family, here are the web page links for us and for our other daughters, Hilary Godwin and Laura Leibman. As Rudi is fond of saying, TeachersRUs, since we’re all involved in education.

Al Bennett

Hi Mari's mom!

I am Joshua's mom. I live in a suburb of Minneapolis, MN. This is my second experience with a child in the Peace Corps. Joshua's brother, Jeffrey, spent 3 years in Gabon, Central Africa, and is working for the PC now and living in Chad. I am eager to visit Joshua in Samoa, but for the time being, I am enjoying his emails, calls, and the other's websites. Joshua was born in Iowa, moved to Illinois and we settled in Minnesota in '93. He graduated from the U of Iowa with a major in philosophy. He has 3 brothers and 1 sister. When he was a 2 month old, I wrote in his baby book that he was the sweetest child, and he remains so! Thanks for this great idea!

Kindest Regards,

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Meet the Parents...

I'm Mari's Mom, Rudi, and am hosting this blog for Parents of Peace Corps Samoa Group 75 trainees. If your son or daughter (or mom) is in this group and you're not yet a member of the blog, please send me an e-mail and I'll send you an invitation to join. Then you'll be able to post here too.

Mari grew up in Irvine, California, where her dad Al and I live and work at the University of California. We're both biologists and love exotic travel (as does Mari) and are thrilled to be able to experience Samoa through her eyes. We also can't wait to see her new home and meet her new friends and family!

So far, though, we're happy to have so much information from all the Group 75 bloggers (see links on the right) and to talk to her when she's in Apia. If you're looking for a good, relatively inexpensive long distance phone card, I'd recommend the one sold online by tel3advantage ( I've bought a prepaid $25 card and chosen the automatic recharge option. Whenever the card runs out of time, my account is recharged (even if I'm in the middle of the call) and the interruption is very brief and doesn't require a new call. The rate is $.38 per minute. If you've found a less expensive rate, please let me know.

Please join this blog and post information about yourself and your Samoan parent experiences!