Sunday, October 10, 2010

Welcome to the Jungle

“To strengthen you, not to conquer you.”

I guess at this point, the only semi-logical way to catch up with this blog is to work backwards.

Right now, I’m sitting in our classroom and looking over an inlet of the ocean, mountains in the background. It’s a little humid today, but not too bad. I’m sunburned! (We went to the beach yesterday; I’ll get to that later.) I’m not sick anymore; that was just a one day thing.

Today is a Samoan holiday called White Sunday. Basically, kids run church services. We all went to Tevita’s church. (Tevita is one of our trainers.) It was so amazing; I think everyone really liked it. The kids, probably three to sixteen, put on skits and sang songs. Almost everything was in English. Oh, and these little kids can harmonize already! After the service, we hopped over to another building for tea and snacks and mango ice cream which got all over my white skirt. I was a mess. Haha. I talked politics with a man from New Zealand. He’d recently read To Kill a Mockingbird and wanted to know if racism still existed in the States. After talking to him for a while, I met a woman from Fiji who is trying to start a Samoan orchestra! How cool would it be to play flute in the orchestra?! Oh, one thing that I’ve noticed about religion in Samoa: first of all, Samoan is very religious (Christian), but the people at the church and the kids all seemed really excited to be there today. And during skits and songs, the littler kids would just run through the older kids and hit balloons around and no one would stop them. No one cared. The kids were just having fun and enjoying themselves. It was great to see. At home, kids would get yelled at and would have to sit down. When the service was over, the kids seemed genuinely excited to shake the pastor’s hand and it seemed like they were doing it of their own free will. At home, a kid would have to drag him or herself to do that kind of thing. Maybe if we let people have fun at church at home, people would be more religious. Maybe not.

Group 83 after White Sunday

Yesterday, we were in paradise. Think of it, the epitome of beach, palms, sand, and the bluest water you've ever seen. We were there. I’ll start at the beginning. I woke up early and headed into town (we’re in Apia, the capitol, but we’re a ways away from the hubbub of town) to exchange money and buy some groceries. Then at 10 we loaded into two cabs and drove to the other side of the island to Tafa Tafa beach. We swam, got scratched up by coral, didn’t put enough sunscreen on, played a little beach football, napped in the fales, found some coconuts, a kayak turned up. If we weren’t so tired, hungry and sunburned, I don’t think anyone would have left.

I got back and did laundry. Laundry in Samoa is hard. I filled my bathroom sink with water and a little powder detergent from the grocery store that is next door, and scrubbed. Then I hung up my clothes on the balcony in front of the hotel to dry.

Then a few of us went out for pizza at a place called Italianos. The walls were covered in people’s signatures kind of like backstage of the middle school at home. And animals are everywhere here. Stray dogs…that might attack us. But we’ve learned how to scare them away. Anyway, so it wasn’t a surprise when there were baby kittens sleeping in the restaurant.

Last Friday was a fun day of class. We actually got an idea of what we’ll be doing in our villages once training is over. –I don’t think any of us feel like we’re really in the Peace Corps right now. We’re hanging out in a hotel with air conditioning in our rooms and going out to dinner. Once we get out to our villages and are alone, that will be the Peace Corps. –And then we had a discussion about culture and what is culture. Naturally, it was my favorite class we’ve had yet. Then we had Girl’s and Boy’s Night so the girl PCTs went out to Blakey’s with a few other volunteers. Blakey has a really nice house on a school compound. None of us will have a place as nice as hers. The principle of her school came over too, which was cool even though it took a lot of time away from Girl’s Night. The quote at the top of this post comes from the principle. I’ll have to remember it when I’m out in my village. After Girl’s Night, we met up with the boys at Zodiac, a bar in the jungle.

I’m sure so much more has happened. It’s hard to find time to write though. If we aren’t in class, then we’re eating, or sleeping, or just hanging out with each other. And it’s not super easy to use the internet. Oh, and an update from the last post: I’m not sick at all anymore; that was just a one day thing.

 My sunburn hurts. But the view is beautiful. 
A Boy at the Beach

Fale at Tafa Tafa Beach

1 comment:

  1. Samantha you are so lucky to be spending 2 years in Samoa,my wife and are there next friday but just for 2 weeks,my advice to you a fellow palagi is just go with the flow, time has little meaning in Samoa and at first this is a bit testing but really the Samoan way seems far better than ours. cheers Anthony & Elena