I didn’t go to sleep. I kept thinking if I go to sleep now it will only be two hours of sleep, then one hour, then thirty minutes and it just didn’t seem worth it. I heard the bus coming at 1:45 AM. “Wow, it’s early,” I thought, but it’s time to go. I gabbed my things, locked the door and headed to the road to wait for the bus to return. After 2, I was on the bus ready to get to start my adventure and meet group 83.
I sat next to the window where there was an amazing breeze because of the rainy morning. The bus ride was long, and since it is approaching Christmas time, (I had heard several Christmas songs recently) I listened to several songs to get me in the holiday spirit. I was sitting there enjoying DJ Okay’s Christmas mixes along with other normal Christmas songs. I arrived in Salelologa close to 5, thankfully when it had stopped raining, ready to wait the hour for the boat. Rachel came by shortly after and met me in the office and we walked together onto the Lady Samoa III. We went on the top deck and sat down. We had only been on the ship for ten minutes when the rain started again. This time it brought an intense wind. Pretty soon, even though we were under a covering, we started to get wet. Everyone quickly shifted over to the other side of the boat to avoid getting wet. A river of water began to form below us as we quickly lifted out bags into the seats, since we realized that a bag with clothes in it would make an amazing pillow to rest our heads on. I quickly fell asleep, and it felt amazing. I awoke when the announcements came on to inform us of our arrival. Thankfully it had stopped raining. We headed onto to Pasi o Va’a to Apia.
The bus had great music, but the bus had problems, and when we were a little over a mile away we were stopped and told we could get on another bus. I convinced Rachel even though we had several bags, walking would be more fun. It probably would have been, if we knew ahead of time about the rain and were prepared with our rain gear. By the time we reached the supermarket, we were drenched and ready to hop in a taxi to the office to do our several errands, and prepare for the fiafia (party) to welcome the new group.
Tensions were high leading up to the event, as not everyone was ready with their dance moves, and costumes, but I feel as though we were ready for it.
The event started with introductions from the new group and staff, I was impressed to see there are three new Coloradoans to join Samoa. There was also someone from Buffalo, and I was excited thinking I might have someone to discuss Sabers victories with.
Group 81 then dazzled us with their sa-sa. Us girls of 82 performed a dance. It looked like a fashion show of the best politasis around Samoa with how good everyone looked. The evening continued with the boys doing their dance. It is amazing to watch them as they are doing the best cardio workout jumping around and slapping their chest. They hit themselves so hard that their chest was red in several areas. The magic continued with fire dancing. It was the same group who had come the previous year. It was amazing how much they had improved from the previous year. Afterwards we feasted on amazing food that each current volunteer had prepared for everyone. (Rachel and I prepared burritos…with homemade tortillas!) It was a great opportunity to eat on the floor with the newbies and learn about them.
That weekend was full of opportunities to meet all 20 of them and fall in love with them! They are quickly fitting into our Peace Corps Samoa family. I had the opportunity to sit down with a few of them and they asked the difference between islands. I told them all the truth. Us Savai’ians are snobs and prejudice to our island. I told them how little I go to the city, since it is far away, which means less fresh delicious food. Also about all the amazing things and people on my island. For some reason, everyone I talked to wanted to be signed up for Savai’I by the time I was finished with talking to them.
On Monday I got to help out with a teaching session where we talked about teaching speaking and listening. At the end of the session, I helped them write lesson plans. It was funny, because I saw ourselves in their shoes. I remembered how fresh our ideas were, and group 83 was the same way, I hope they don’t lose their spirit. But, I had to rein them in a little bit, to tell them how school really is in Samoa. I told them it really isn’t that bad though, we really learn to be creative to teach with only the bare necessitations. It really isn’t that bad, since it reminds me how spoiled I was as a teacher in America, even though I complained about the lack of funding all the time.
I would like to say one last welcome to Group 83, all of you seem so amazing and full of energy (also you smell so nice with your un moldy clothes!), I can’t wait to get to know you over the next year.