Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Going to the Carnival!

Taking a break from carnival games to just have fun!

The 5 Nights of Christmas Show

Peace Corps sisters!

Hanging out with some of the girls after the carnival.

About six months ago there was a volunteer named Casey. Casey was helping someone in his village have a carnival and bazaar in their village for the first time. Before Casey finished his service, he mentioned to us that the people in his village were hoping for some assistance from Peace Corps volunteers. He did not know when the event was to take place, and most of us put the thought of the event in the back of our heads and concentrated on the present day.
Then a month ago we received an e-mail about the event, and since I had no real plans, I decided to get on the boat to Upolu and help out at the event. The day I arrived I felt like a special guest as I was being wisked away to different places all the time. The best of all was the Ava ceremony and dinner they had to kick off the event. I haven’t been at an Ava ceremony since training, even though I have watched several from outside my bedroom window in Savai’i, so it was nice to be a part of ceremony again. That evening we feasted on lobster, oka, and many other delicious things from the sea. It was the best food I’ve had in a long time.
The next morning Lissa and I went to the carnival and had a good time with the children. We helped out with the games, but mostly just hung out. There was plenty of entertainment since there was a dj, and different villages were performing cultural and fun dances. There was also a talent show which showcased some amazing children.
In the evening they had a beauty pageant, but it was a beauty pageant unlike any other. This was a “Miss Golden Oldies” pageant, in which all of the contestants had to be over the age of fifty. They wore all different kind of outfits which made them look beautiful, including some amazing outfits made from nature, such as plants and flowers. (My favorite was the one made from teuilas, since they are such beautiful flowers.) The four contestants performed in song and dance, as well as strutting themselves across the dance floor to show off their outfits. The oldest women, one in her 80’s, I think, won, and she deserved it. Late that night we were finally able to go to sleep as the long day had come to a close, and we knew activities would start up again bright and early the next morning.
Lissa decided we needed something more structured to do the next day, so came up with a plan and returned with hair wax. We spent the morning styling kids (and a few adults hair) into Mohawks, and sticking up random clumps of hair with the several colors we had. It was so much fun, and pretty soon it seemed like the entire village had hair color a little different than in the morning. (I even had multiple colors as kids decided to style mine as well.
Then in the afternoon, Katie showed up. It was Katie’s first day in her village, and I felt sorry for her for it being such an overwhelming day. We spent time with kids and had as good time picking out a “uo” for me from the boys playing rugby, and playing games.
The following day, I was happy to see Katie’s smiling face at church, even though she was being dragged around by so many children. I spent the day with my adopted family, while she spent the time with hers, and met back up in the evening for the start of the “Five Nights of Christmas” program.
We sat on the side as we cheered on children from her village put on an amazing performance of singing and dancing. Throughout the entire performance we had a crowd of kids around us the entire time anxious to be around us.
I then went back to Apia to do my many errands that need to get done each time I am in the city, but returned a few nights later with Supi. Supi spent time helping with the behind the scenes action, while Katie and I did the more enjoyable route of watching the performace while many children also fight for our attention.
I had such a great time in Katie’s village with her. I remember what it felt like to be in her shoes, and it was such a rough and awkward time. (Remember how bad that first day of junior high or high school was? Think that plus not understanding what anyone is saying because of language differences.)She took the day like it was nothing and easy to handle. You could easily tell that the kids all adored her already, and that is going to grow so much more.
I know Katie is going to show everyone how remarkable of a person she is, and I am happy she is a part of my family.

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