I had the opportunity to walk around the island with two M78s, Ben and Nick, over a three-day weekend in October. Nothing like 50 miles to motivate a person, huh? Pohnpei has one main road that encircles the entire island – beforehand I calculated plausible walking distances based on places where we could spend the night.
First leg (approximately 14 miles) – Nett, Sokehs, and Kitti
The boys and I started off strong with a hearty breakfast and enthusiasm to get over many, many hills. I had the bright idea of doing this walk Pohnpeian style (in a skirt and using flip-flops), which I quickly realized was a HUGE mistake. We ended up not walking the entire way – I very much overestimated the distance – so we got a free ride via flatbed to our destination for the night.
|Pit stop at Mia's host family|
|Return to my training school|
We successfully completed this leg, I am proud to say. I felt very comfortable in my own neck of the woods and served as tour guide for the guys. My host family provided us with a very filling lunch that gave us the fuel to make it to our night’s destination. I also switched to socks and gym shoes that allowed me to continue walking, but the flip-flops had already done their damage – my blisters were HUGE!
|Much gratitude to JVI Sam and her awesome host family for letting us spend the night|
|Welcome from the other side of Madolenihmw|
|I know my host family already thinks I’m crazy, but they still indulge me|
Setting out after a leisurely breakfast, I was mentally ready to walk the final distance but my feet were definitely not cooperating. After crossing municipality lines (just so I could say that I have walked to each of the five municipalities) the boys and I got a taxi back to our point of origin, the Peace Corps office. Even though we only walked 60% of the island I felt quite accomplished and satisfied with what we did do.
|Check out my expression – no amount of hospitality (thank you Joyce and host family) could relieve the pain of my blisters.|
I spent the next week or two making sure my self-inflicted wounds did not get infected and waddling around like a duck – which amused my students, of course. Lesson learned!