If I go to the main road and turn left, my closest Peace Corps neighbor is Liz, about a two hour bike ride. If I turn to my right I can visit two different volunteers riding the same amount of time, Elisa and Dana. This weekend was going to be a Dana weekend.
I made plans with her to take the bus after school, which meant I would hopefully leave around 2:30, depending on when the bus would come. I asked around my village when people thought the bus would come, and I got all different answers ranging from 2-3:30. To be one the safe side I packed up my stuff, grabbed a book, and headed for the road at 2. (I did not hear a bus pass before then so I felt pretty confident that I would encounter a bus quickly.) Some of my students were on the road selling mangos. They told me to wait with them, and how could I refuse? We hung out singing songs, talking, eating and selling mangos, and before I knew it, it was 4:30 and the bus had showed. The time really did fly by and I enjoyed waiting with them. While at their mango stand, I talked to a lot of cars coming through and people passing by. They offered to let me spend the day and night with them and their family instead of visiting Dana. I kept refusing politely as I really wanted to see Dana (and get my bike back that I left at her house over the Mother’s Day holiday).
I cannot imagine waiting for a bus for two and a half hours in the States. I think I would have given up and returned home quickly as it would not be worth the hassle. Sometimes resorting to my telephone to see who might want to give me a ride, or a local cab driver’s phone number. Other times deciding that my plans probably weren’t worth the wait. I used to hate waiting, now it seems like it is a part of life, and at least usually there is something to keep you occupied.
After my long wait, I was happy to get on the bus, especially since a rain storm was approaching. The people of Samoa always seem to amaze me as they are always willing to shift around to make sure everyone fits on as comfortable as possible. Today, a kolisi student gave up her seat to me and sat on the bus steps.
Dana lives at the tai (Oceanside) of her village, and the bus only goes to uta (away from the beach). There is a giant hill separating them, and Dana offered to meet me on the hill. When I got off the bus I began waiting at the bus shelter since it was pouring. However, a pickup truck arrived and a few of us piled in the back. Halfway down the hill, we saw Dana dancing in the rain, I knocked on the window and hopped off the truck. The two of us were giggling as we splashed through the puddles on the way to her house. When we arrived we were soaked, but anxious to catch up on life.
We headed over to the beach to sit on the rocks , watch the children swim and eat mangos. Dana is so involved in her community, it is amazing. She knows all of the little kids by name and is always anxious to invite them to hang out with us. This was my fourth time visiting Dana’s village and I was surprised at how many of the children and adults remembered me by name. I am horrible with names. I’ve been living in my village for six months, and feel as though I do not know most names. (Part of the reason is because I’ve past the time period where I can re-ask their names, and previously I was concentrating on figuring out what they were saying.)
When we left the beach, I suggested that we go train for our relay race next month by running up the massive hill. We started to walk across the sand to Dana’s house, when we saw people playing volleyball. Training can wait we decided and headed over to the game.
I really like playing volleyball, despite what many people think. I am just horrible at it, and so the people in my village don’t let me play since they are way to competitive. However, if you want a good laugh, invite me to play with you, although Dana is pretty funny to watch as well.
When the ball is spiked towards us we cover our face to not get hurt. Sometimes I jump to hit the ball, and then realize that I am about a foot too short to actually reach the ball, even while jumping. We tried though and had a real fun time.
Sunset was approaching so the game had to end and we headed home. Dana is my sister. I love her to death, so it only makes sense that her family is an extension of my family. Her mom, really is my mom. She passed me a towel which Dana and I were chit chatting away, and told me that I needed to shower. You have to listen to mom, so I grabbed the lamp and headed into the dark shower to bucket wash.
After showering, it was one of my favorite times of the day, dinner time. It was hard for Dana and I to find time to eat as our mouths kept talking trying to catch up on every aspect of our lives and our vacation plans.
We then turned the open fale into a movie theatre as the neighbors all piled in to watch a movie. As soon as they heard the sounds, about 30 people showed up to watch the movie with us. I had a little girl who had been hanging out with me all day, stay true to form in her attempt to become my new best friend as she tested my Samoan by chatting through the entire movie.
The movie was long, and I have a bad habit of sleeping through movies, even when they are incredible. So true to form, I took a nice nap and awoke when the credits rolled across the screen.
We parted ways with our Samoan friends, and they begged me to stay longer than the morning so I could attend church with them. Another time I told them, as I love spending time with Dana, and know that I will continue to visit her village.