Saturday I woke up early to the heavy downpour, read a little bit as I laid on the mat on the floor, then got my clothes together for church, making sure they did not have to be ironed. Then headed to the kitchen for breakfast.
I turned the hot water boiler on, and poured myself some cereal. I put my tea bag inside my cup since it was just me there was no need to make a big pot of tea and poured the steaming water into the cup (This also meant that I would have a nice break from the overly sugared tea that I had been used to getting.) I then sat down at the table. I looked down at what I thought was a delicious meal and saw only one thing.
The ants were in my tea cup, and in my cereal. Ants have a weird fascination with water, a fascination that I don’t quite understand since they drown. The ants had apparently crawled inside the water boiler, and I had cooked them. I poured out me tea, and washed the hot water boiler and added fresh new water. That took care of one problem. The ants in the cereal is a different problem all together. There is nothing you can really do about it, because unless your cereal is locked in the tightest containers, ants or other creatures find their way in. I like my cereal dry, so every time I noticed an ant I tried to squeeze it as I took it away from my bowl. The good thing about not liking milk is not having to watch ants swimming in your food.
After my delicious ant filled breakfast, I then headed to church. I love church on Saturdays, even though all my peace corps friends laugh at me for attend church all weekend. Church is such an amazing family get together. My minister and his wife are like my cousins who I love spending time with. When I first arrived, there were only 2 other people in the church besides my minister’s family. However, shortly after another family showed up to double our numbers.
At church we sing songs, I practice reading in Samoan and have conversations that really make you think, not even in a church related way. It can be an enjoyable two hours.
After church, I relaxed the rest of the day which was quite nice.
Sunday, another church day. I wake up, iron my clothes and make my breakfast. Remembering the ants from the previous day, I opt for just water with my cereal so I have less ants to pick out.
I then walk up the plantation road to the Pati Pati (Assembly of God) church. I arrive early and the kids are still in Sunday School. I decided to join the young group of them, and they were cute as we practiced the little sayings to perform in front of the congregation.
We then head over to the church which is a nice big open fale with beautiful quilts hung about. I used to find going to church here odd, since it is quite different than any other congregation I am used to. Now, I appreciate the beautify of how it is different and love going.
Just like on Saturdays, the church is full of singing, only here there is plenty of dancing to go along with the singing. My favorite is this one song where we do the twist and shake everyone’s hand in the congregation. It is really a beautiful site to see.
I really love going to the different churches as it makes me feel a part of my village. Each time I go, I hear a special prayer for me and my family in America, and it really touches me that they care so much about me. I used to be questioned by people in my village on why I wasn’t just attending their church. Now they have come to accept it and have a quick laugh at me for what I am looking forward to about church that week. On my walk today, I was stopped several times by women from the Methodist church, and they told me to have a good time dancing at the different lotu.
After church, I attended to’ogani with a family of one of my students. One girl is in year 1, the boy is in year 6, and the oldest daughter is in year 12 at the kolisi, so I come into contact with all three of the kids during the week. Sieni and I shared a tray of delicious Samoan food. I think I ate more lau pele than anyone ever, it was so delicious!
After eating, Sieni was working on her homework, and I was impressed how the kids all worked together to get it done as we watched some television and drank cocoa. (Remember if you want a strong body, drink Samoan cocoa, I was told many times today.)
After tafao-ing for a few hours, I had decided it was time to leave, and the girls walked with me home. At their fale they do not have water tanks, or piped water, so they have to walk to a relatives’ house to shower each day, and decided walking me home was a good excuse to go there.
At home I had to get ready for church number two of the day. I had promised some girls in the neighboring village that I would go to their lotu in the afternoon that day. The Methodist Church wears white, so I put on my white tasi and headed towards the shore of their village.
While walking on the road I met a few girls. I asked if they were going to church, and they told me it was cancelled. Since it was cancelled, and I was already in their village, I decided to follow them home.
At their house I chatted with the women (about the usual, boyfriends, food, church and family), and sang songs with the kids. We then had a dance party where the kids tried to teach me how to be a better Samoan dancer. After about two hours of dancing, I was tired and decided to begin heading back.
I stopped a few more times at different people’s houses, once to try to find out if there was a reason why boys were trying to throw rocks at birds. (I misheard their Samoan, and thought they were trying to get mangos out of a tree. I spent about ten minutes looking for the mango tree.) Another person had ran into my Samoan father that lives in Upolu and wanted to let me know he sends his love. I then made a stop to one of my favorite families to visit on Sundays, the Morman bishop’s family.
The kids were all in the front fale, so I joined them and we chatted about life. The girls in the kolisi had just competed in cross country races and I found out how the event went. We then acted how we normally do, and sang songs and danced. It was a great time.
Finally, it was time to go home. The two older girls walked me home. They were laughing hysterically at all the attention I get in our village. They go to school faraway and are only in town on the weekends, so they do not see how I live during the week. Several cars passed by, “Hi Lili.” Several people walking around asked, “Where are you going, Lili?” It was as though they were invisible. I felt extremely bad, but they didn’t seem to mind, thankfully.
When I finally reached home I was exhausted. I was ready to relax and go to bed.
This was my plan about two hours ago. Yet I still sit here at my computer trying to catch up on my blogs….
It never seems like there are quite enough hours in the day.