The Main Road in Savai’i is the best place to spend time. When you are there you can hang out in the middle of the road for a long time without a passing car to move you. The Main Road is where you can run into everybody, and meet everyone new who is visiting. There you can listen to hear who has broken the village rules and their fines as the man shouts them to the village. You can hear them beating the canoe to call everyone to the church hall. On the malae you can see everyone gathering around to play volleyball and rugby each evening. Chickens are sometimes chased by dogs, dogs sometimes chase the pigs as they all scamper across the road. Sometimes horses break free from their rope and play chicken with the traffic to test their luck. And sometimes, you get the honor of seeing something unique.
Twice last month on my way home from school I saw young men returning home with pieces of a cow (is it called beef then?). A few people had legs complete with the hooves on then, someone else with a part of the torso, and someone else with the head. When you see a cow cut apart like this, a few things could have happened.
A. Someone died
B. Someone got married
or the usual answer
C. Someone broke a major village rule.
Sometimes cows, pigs, and even horses are used to pay village fines. These are from when you commit a big offense, the major ones being adultery or theft.
When this happen the matais (village chiefs) meet in their meeting house (which is right over the fence from my window). The untitled men sit outside. I never know what happens, even through my year of spying on them. But at the end, the tins of food, slaughtered animals and money are divided upon the chiefs.
As you can see our Main Road is never dull.
Pictures are of:
Some of us spending time by the cricket field next to the main road, 2 of my neighbors in a tree by the main road, and some of my year 6 students.