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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Just a Quick Note From Fiji

Fiji is beautiful, but it makes me miss Samoa, and realize how lucky I am to be living in Western Samoa. Samoans are truely unique people and it makes me love them more and more the time I spend away from them. I am enjoying my trip. Scuba diving is amazing-especially when there are sharks, turtles, dolphins and other amazing creatures.
(My internet time is up..otherwise I would write more!)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

After over a year and a half of living in Samoa I have come to see that there is little value in wearing shoes. It is usually more comfortable to walk around without like most of the villagers do, so I do the same. Even in Apia, I often walk without my jandals.
So while going through airport security I had to take off my shoes, I saw to point in putting them back on and had them stay in my bag. When it was time to board my flight to Fiji, my shoes still remained in my bag....but I was stopped. Apparently it is a rule that you have to wear shoes to board a plane. (In Tonga I knew someone who forgot their shoes before boarding a local plane and did not have these problems..he was also carrying his machete and that was also not a problem...)
In Fiji I am amazed at the site of everyone wearing shoes. I have not seen anyone shoesless so far, so it might look strange for me to start the trend.
The kinds of shoes they wear here are much different than the islands I have travelled to (Tonga, American Samoa). They are palagi type sandals and real shoes...no jandals here.
I will still continue to rock my jandals in Fiji.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Year 7 Boys Music Video 2010

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Here are the boys from my year 7 class showing off their dance moves for the Black Eyed Peas.

Year 8 having fun last year

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This is a video from last year. I showed my students that I had a web camera on my computer and they were completely amazed. I now have a million videos of them. Here is one we didn't finish

Last Week of School

Last week of school

The last week of each term here reminds me of the last few weeks of school in America.  Only we do in three times.  This year we were more productive than most previous year was we put off our testing week until the week before.  This is how it played out this year:

Monday there was no school as it was a national holiday-Mothers Day.  (Are you jealous?)

Tuesday was a day dedicated to teachers marking the examinations.  I worked with many students to write essays and draw pictures for Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary contest.  The winners get to attend our 50th Anniversary/4th of July Party in Apia.  I told my students that they will get to spend time with other Peace Corps and I would take them to McDonalds.  Since most of them have never gone to Apia, they have never even seen a McDonalds before.  It was a big selling point and many students did their best work.

Wednesday was cleaning day, also known to me as “Bring your machete to school day”.  School started early and students started showing up in their palagi clothes.  It was similar to a fashion show.  They were all wearing their best clothes I have seen.  It made me laugh as they were doing so much cleaning in those clothes.  Weeding the grass, moving rocks, cutting the grass, moving school furniture and more. 

Thursday was our sports day.  The school divides into 4 teams and they do different team games.  Relay races run supreme as there are traditional running races, coconut races, sack races, egg on spoon relay races, and a hysterical race that includes army crawling, hurdling, piggy back rides and boys helping dress females races.  They did other games with balls, and blindfolded search for oranges.   The kids always enjoy it and us teachers have fun laughing with the students.

Friday was similar to our prize giving, only the prizes were report cards.  Parents came in their best clothes, the hall was spotless.  Teachers gave speeches and called out the students to collect their report cards in the order they placed in the class.  People applauded when they heard their family members success.  A few students gave ulas full of candy for their teachers. 

In America, there is no vacation between terms, so teaching keeps continuing on.  It is very interesting to see the differences.

 

Those Bones

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Those Bones, those bones, those crazy bones!
Year 6 again

The Banana Song

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My year 6 class singing the Banana Song

Year 6 Introduction

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Here is my year 6 class introducing themselves... I am hoping to put up more of their videos today!

50th Anniversary Contest

It looked like the last time I tried to post my student’s work it did not go through.  So I am trying again….Here is some of their amazing artwork.

The Future

The Future Awaits

Well I am off to time travel again.  This time I am going to visit Fiji on the opposite side of the dateline.  On Saturday night I had a little scare about Fiji, and thought my trip might be cancelled.  Someone had told me that Fiji was at war.  Being a volunteer, I am bound to the safety and security officers of whatever countries I travel to that have volunteers, and I was afraid that would mean I would not be going. 

The person I talked to had heard that Fiji and Tonga had started a war against one another.  We were all shocked to hear this information, because usually the islands can be friendly places. 

Someone who facing persecution fled the country, and was picked up by a Tongan Navy boat.  The man was happy because he felt the King of Tonga would be able to protect him. 

Fiji was anxious to get him back, since while over in Tongatapu, he made several interviews with the media and posted a video on Youtube. 

One person I talked to who lived in Fiji for several years told me not to worry, because although both countries have militaries, they are mainly land based and so they would have no way to reach one another.  The only way these countries could fight is if another country supported them.

I was still nervous since my flight was only 2 days away, so I called up Peace Corps Fiji, and they told me it was safe to come.

No war started, the man was sent back to Fiji today, and I will be arriving there tonight (So tomorrow night since it is the future.)  I am off to scuba dive with sharks, let’s hope I am not eaten by one!

 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dateline Switch?

Day Switch

I heard a rumor today that I am not sure is true…but strange.  I heard that December 30th this year, we will switch to the other side of the dateline.  I don’t know if this is true, as I heard it from someone reading the Samoan newspaper.  American Samoa will stay where it is on the dateline, creating a days difference between us and our neighboring country.

If this is true and it does happen, Savai’i will no longer have boasting privileges as the last sunset in the world.  Instead, Upolu will get the first sunset of each day.  (Take that Tonga-we are stealing that away from you!)

Also they are doing it in prime time for the New Years.  That way you can celebrate the start of 2012 in Western Samoa, then travel back to 2011 in a short 30 minute flight to American Samoa and bring in the New Year again.  (A lot more inexpensive than previous options.) 

It seems strange to think that a country is going in the direction of skipping an entire day, but I guess crazier things have happened. 

 

A Scrabble Controversy

Scrabble

On the news I learned about the new Scrabble Dictionary being published.   From the New Zealand News, Kiwis are outraged about what is inside.  400 new words were add pertaining to slang and pop culture.  Among the words were “MySpace”, “thang” and two words for crystal meth (to be honest I don’t remember what they are called).

Kiwis were hoping  that their footwear, the jandal would make the cut and be in the dictionary.  They were refused based upon the assumption that jandals are only a name brand.  After being in Samoa for a year and a half, I can tell you that assumption is completely incorrect.  Jandals are sandals, flip flops, thongs, or whatever else you call them.  It is the name for the most common footwear in New Zealand and other Pacific Islands. 

The Scrabble Dictionary is published in America, and I am sure just as when I left, the word is just as uncommon as it is today. For me, an average person, many words are completely foreign.   However, this game is played worldwide and the authors need to take that into account.  It would be nice to play against my family and have a word that they need to question, such as the jandal, instead of me questioning all the time. 

According to scrabble, crystal meth gets the cut, but our shoes do not.  Since I am not a professional player, jandals will be a part of my Scrabble game. 

 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Text 2 Spin

Text to Spin

Every week one of the cell phone companies has a promotion-text to spin. You can text (charges apply) who you think will win that week’s rugby match, and if you are correct you are in the drawing to participate in text to win.

Once a week, everyone gathers around a television to see who wins the text to spin.  Everyone always is curious if there is someone they know winning.  Last week, we heard the voice of one of the teachers at our school and we were all very excited. 

If you win, someone on television spins a wheel which will say the prize that you will get.  It is all monetary, and goes up to $2,000 tala. 

What has always made me laugh is that they announce the number they are calling and show the number on the screen.  I have always wanted to send a text to ask for credit to those people who win, since you know they have money.  I always receive texts from people I do not know asking for credit, and I have always wanted to do the same to someone to see if others actually respond to those requests.

A few weeks ago, I had a real laugh when it was time for text to spin.  Cell phone service was out in my area of Savaii and probably many other places as well.  Since it is a live program, you were able to see the frustration in their eyes as most telephone lines did not go through.  They had to dial at least a dozen numbers until they found a number that worked.

Text to spin may sound boring, and kind of is to me at least, but it is one of the weekly family gatherings in most houses.

 

Manuia le Aso Tina

Mother’s Day 2011

I should have learned that travelling before a busy holiday (Mother’s Day is a public holiday in Samoa) is never a fun experience.  I skipped travelling Friday afternoon because I knew it would be a similar experience as travelling for Easter….and I did not want to do that again.  Then on Saturday, I was just too lazy to leave.  I got a phone call about a ride to the wharf early, and just wanted to relax for as long as possible.  I ended up on the last boat.

The boat was packed.  There was no path to walk up the stairs to the top deck, and people were sitting or standing around the outside railings.  I found a little space with a family that was lying on the floor, and I joined them.  Riding boats really rock me to sleep and I was so happy to find such a prime space (even though you could smell the petrol from the boat there). We were all lying there so close next to each other.  When someone stirred a little bit, everyone felt it.  We were like frankfurters still the package before they get loose to become hot dogs. 

When we arrived in Salelologa, I was scared about the bus situation.  My bus has not been coming for the last ferry for the past month, but in Apia I was reassured with so many people travelling, there would definitely be busses.  I didn’t realize quite how many busses this meant.  There were 7 Queen Maggie Busses!  (This probably doesn’t mean anything to you if you are not from here…)  I saw two busses and got on the one that was from 2 villages away.  I always try to support the bus drivers who live closest to my house first.

As we began pulling away I saw there were two more of my district busses hidden in the back.  I had a little piece of guilt and sulked down in my seat as I saw the bus from my village.  I know everyone wants you to take the bus from your area, and I normally do this, but I didn’t see it, and I did not want to have someone hassle me if they saw me taking a different bus. 

It was a good thing that there were 4 district busses as each of ours had only a few lap seaters, and it was nice to not be packed further inside the bus making it impossible to breathe. 

When I got off my village, I was immediately called “ka’a” for being away and missing our Mother’s Day dance practice.  (A practice I was unaware of…) I was reminded to iron and wear the nicest white puletasi I had.  I agreed, then walked home with a neighbor where we had a little Mothers Day celebration in our family.

The next day, the women gathered outside the church hall with flowers.  We then marched inside the church together singing a song.  After the service, we then had our performance.  There was about 6 songs we danced to, with acting in between.  It was a lot of fun.

This year was the first Mother’s Day in which I was one of the people honored, and it was nice.  (Still not planning on having any kids in the near future to begin celebrating in America as well!)

For all the women reading this, Manuia le Aso Tina!  Happy Mother’s Day! 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Baby Lillian

Baby Lillian

A few nights ago my librarian texted me, she had her baby and was wondering how to spell my name. 

For months her daughter keeps telling her, “Please mom, have a daughter.  You need to name her Lili so she will be beautiful like Lili.” 

I thought that was so cute, but it was just something a six year old would say. 

So I was surprised when I got a text about a baby being born that was as beautiful as me.  Then asking the correct spelling of my Palagi name-Lillian. 

I may be leaving my village at the end of the year, but a little Lillian will stay. 

 

Friday, May 6, 2011

dodapp

What's the Pig Idea?

What’s the Pig Idea?

During training, my family got a little piglet.  He was so cute and little.  My family told me I could name him, so I did, Viliamu, after my brother.  He was really cute, and we tried to keep him on a rope and he lived quite contently for a long time under the house.  He got off his leash quite frequently as pigs aren’t known to be on leashes, and I joined my brothers and sisters in running after the little piggy until we caught him. 

Why were we so worried about the pig being loose?  In many villages there are strict rules preventing pigs from being loose in the village.  If your pig comes out of the pen, or off of his rope in this case, he will be killed, cooked and presented to the village.  (I am not sure who always eats the pig.  While we were in training our trainers were presented a few pigs that were killed because of this.)

My village has an unofficial rule about the pigs.  It is not completely enforced, however if a pig crosses onto your land, you have the right to kill it.  Our dog usually does a good job about chasing them away, which sadly kills a few in the process.  However at night some are missed.

My family does not eat pork, and so is not a fan of the pigs.  We have a fence around our area, but the pigs manage to make holes in the fence and dig to come inside. 

Pigs get startled easily.  By having the dog go after them, or me and my sister run to chase them away, it usually works well.  But at night, my sister and I are not on pig guard, and sometimes the dogs are not as well.  Night is when the pigs cause the most trouble.

Outside my window I hear the sound of movement on the lava rocks.  Startled from trying to sleep, I wonder what is going on.  The grunt then tells me, it’s a pig.  The pigs use this time to dig around and often break our water lines. 

I wish our village was better at enforcing the pig law.  Many villages require pens, and it completely makes sense as it not only cleans up the village, but causes falavelaves. 

 

A McDonalds Party

Mc Donalds Party

I was invited to help out at a Samoan Victim Support Children’s Party.  A local businessman who is completely involved with the Samoan Victim Support was having a birthday.  When questioned by his friends on what he should do for the celebration, he explained he didn’t really want to do anything for himself, and instead invited the entire school to a party for them.  It was going to be hosted at McDonalds and wanted helpers to make sure the kids were entertained and having fun.

At my school, they are having their test week.   All week I have been in the office  acting typing tests for teachers and making copies.  I had finished the last test, and in celebration, I decided to join the McDonalds Party.

I awoke at 1 in the morning.  Got ready, and was out on the road for the bus shortly after.  The bus comes twice for the first ferry.  The first time around 2 in the morning and then again at 3 in the morning.  I always choose to get on the bus the first time around in order to get a seat as my village is one of the first on route.

By 3 am in the bus was full and lap seating was in order.  I scooted up so the person next to me could slide under me and I could sit on her lap.  She was tired, and trying to get comfortable.  (This is how I know I am a much more comfortable person around strangers and not always on guard.  I would never let this happen in my America past.)  She then put her arms around me like hugging a pillow, and learned on my back to use me as a pillow.  I don’t know if the person behind us was also leaning forward, but all of a sudden I was being pushed further and further into the person in the seat in front of me.

Most Samoans do not have their hair down.  It is normally in a bun or in a braid.  (Which helps prevent the spread of lice.  But as I have learned does not prevent it at all!) The person in front of me had their hair in frizzy ponytail, in which I was trying to avoid having in my mouth by cocking my head in different directions. 

I was very happy when we arrived at the ferry close to five.  I got on the pasi o va’a, and was happy to have a seat to myself.  By 8:40 I was in Apia, my 7 hour commute was over.

I was told the party was at a certain time, but being Samoa, it was of course a different time.  I was there while McDonalds was setting up.  It had been a long time since I have been to a McDonalds’ birthday party, and I was amazed at how much work goes into it.  They really try to make the room look special. 

While I arrived the workers were blowing up balloons manually, with their mouths.  That is a shock to normally see at an establishment that is used to having parties,  but how many balloons they had already blown up, and had planned to do more.  There had to of been at least 200 balloons done, and they were still going.  The final product of balloons looked amazing as it was a beautiful border around the room. 

They then had toy placemats laid out-a Peter Pan activity.  And crowns were placed on each placemat.  The local business man brought a few extra toys such as dough and those were also placed on the table.

There were about 30 kids, and with the workers and helpers about 15 more.  It was great to see these children, as they are adorable and have such great manners.  They live in a shelter together and are not used to having such individualized attention, and it was nice to help give it to them. 

We had so much fun with them.  There was face painting, playing in the McDonalds play house and other fun.  I am really happy I got to be there for their fun party.  I hope I get to be involved in more activities with Victims Support.

(Picture is of the girls in my Peace Corps group at a gathering several months ago.)

50th Anniversary Contest

For the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps, there is an essay and art contest to remember all of the amazing things Peace Corps Volunteers have done here in Samoa. 

I think my favorite story of the accomplishments of former volunteers, was the creation of the flush toilet.  When they brought that to Samoa, they renamed the bathroom in their honor.  Fale Pisi Koa.  Today there are still some that refer to the bathroom by this name. 

My students were quick to get involved, and here is a sneak peak of some of their work. 

Below is an essay from a year 6 student (she had a lot of fun with the picture choices on Microsoft Word):

 

 


My Best Peace Corp

By Christina
Age 11

 Savai’i

            My best peace corp is so beautiful.  I am going to tell you about my best peace corp.

            My peace corp’s name is Lillian Watson.  Her parents are Renee and Richard.  She lives in Foailuga.  She is twenty eight years of age.  She is awesome.

            She likes to come to school.  She comes to our class every day.  When she comes in our class, she does our essay.  She likes eating Samoan food like taro and palusami.  She has a computer and projector to watch English songs and play games. 

            She has white skin.  She has long brown hair.   She types the paper in the computer.  She likes to play volleyball.

            In conclusion, I love my peace corp.

 

 

Food

Food

Because of living with a family, I eat my meals with them and have little control over my diet.  This causes me to crave different ridiculous foods that may seem abnormal. 

When I woke up for the bus for Apia, I began to crave a peanut butter sandwich.  I decided as soon as I arrived in Apia, that is what I would have.  After being awake for several hours en-route to Apia, I began to think of hot dog vendors.  I wished there was one on our ferry.  Instead, the little shop sold noodles.  It was 6 in the morning and a hot dog was all I could think about.

I arrived at the Peace Corps office, craving both items that were on my mind all morning.  I went to the shop, and bought all the ingredients.  I laid across the table 2 slices of fresh bread full of peanut butter (made in the USA) and cooked hot dogs in boiled water.  The meal tasted phenomenal at 9 in the morning.  It was quite frankly the best breakfast I have had in a long time. 

For lunch, I was going to be at the McDonalds party-and not being one to give up the chance for free food, I went off my ban on McDonalds food (I had heard horror stories about people getting food poisoning there.).   I was curious about the Samoan burger that I had seen advertized in the newspaper and in posters throughout the restaurant, so I ordered it.  I don’t know if my taste buds have changed, or I just craved a burger, but my meal there was fantastic! 

A Samoan burger is an Aussie burger (has an egg on it) but made in a McDonalds in Samoa.  (They also have local food on there and have taro pie-a twist on the normal apple pie.)

For dinner, I went to a birthday party which was catered.  There was a seafood soup, fish, chicken and other meats cooked in a delicious fashion and was amazing.

Today was by far the best eating that I have had in awhile. 

Peace Corps 50th Anniversary Contest-2

Here are some more of the contestants work:  (I am enjoying being able to go to an internet cafĂ© with high speed internet, as you can tell!)

My Best Peace Corp

By: Rhonda
Age: 12
Village: Savai’i
School: Gaga’emalae

            My best peace corp is so fantastic.  I am going to tell you about my best peace corp.

            My peace corp’s name is Lillian Watson.  Her parents are Renee and Richard Watson.  She lives in Foailuga.  She is 28 years of age.  She is a pretty peace corp.

            She comes to my class every day.  She likes to teach our class.  When she comes in our class she does our English lesson.  She has a computer and a projector to watch songs and games. 

            She has long hair.   Her skin is brown.  When she comes to school she has a very nice puletasi.  She runs on the road every day. 

            In conclusion, she is awesome, great and spectacular.

 

 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Postcard Project Favorites


The students really liked the ducks in the picture.


Many students thought this was a picture of a whale. It lead us to the new vocabulary word: dolphin.



They thought this man was hysterical covered in ice.





They were very excited to see sheep in this postcard.










With the term ending next week, and confusion in the post office over switching my mailing address, I feel pretty excited with receiving 16 post cards this term. The students have learned a lot and have had fun in the process. I know many others have told me they have written, and I am excited that we will get to start out our second term with your letters. Here are some of the postcard pictures my students especially liked:




Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama vs Obama = Confused Children

Osama vs Obama

On my walk home from school today a few students asked me about Osama, the President of America, and asked why he was killed.  They had apparently watched the news over the past few nights and have been confused over the two names- Obama and Osama.

“Ese ese tagata,” I explained it was a different person.  Obama is the President of America.  Osama is a man who killed many people and so he was killed. 

“Why?” they were curious.  In living in a culture where they do not deal with intolerance and very few murders happen (we had our first murder in a long time last year) they are not used to seeing just in someone dying, or a reason for hating one another. 

I explained that he didn’t like America and so he caused many falavelaves in America. 

A pastor’s daughter piped in, Osama is in the “sami uliuli (black sea)” where he is being eaten by sharks.

I hope by the end of our walk they had a little better understanding of the difference between Osama Bin Laden and Barak Obama. 

 

Peace Corps Experience

Peace Corps Experience

Today we received an email about an article a RPCV (Returned Peace Corps Volunteer) wrote about the Peace Corps experience.  Although everyone who enters Peace Corps has the experience of living on another country, not everyone gets the real Peace Corps experience.

There are several factors that prevent someone from getting the true experience, most of them are brought on by that individual volunteer.  There is always a pull to go to the familiar, which means staying in close contact with your Peace Corps family, and failing to branch out to learn about your neighbors.   In cities there are usually several expatriates.  It is natural to gravitate towards them to have a taste of the familiar.  We also have volunteers from Australia and Japan here and we want to learn about them and their countries, which can also be a barrier.  When you are in the village, there is always the feeling that you don’t want to be in the fishbowl  anymore and lock yourself in your house with your computer to watch movies and read books.

 The main reason when it is not the volunteers fault to get a true grasp of the culture is when they are placed in the city.  When you are around all those outside forces nonstop, and others want to assimilate to you and learn about your country it is very difficult to grasp fully where you are living.

I feel lucky being placed in a rural village, as it makes it easier for me to fight these forces and really come to love my village.  It makes me only leave my village when it is truly necessary, and after spending too much time away, I begin to yearn for my village.  I feel like a true part of the community as I spend so much time with neighbors doing many different tasks. 

Does this make me Samoan?  No way.  Not even close.  I do not do most of the daily tasks of a normal Samoan.  Given the choice between doing the daily chores of a Samoan, and socializing and learning about people through different activities, I choose the activities. 

Samoan women will spend hours a day weaving mats.  That’s not to say that the mats are not needed, as they are used for so many different things, especially for presents.  The house where they weave the mats is a great place to socialize, and I have gone there several afternoons, but I would rather branch out to other people.  Another activity I see the women doing constantly is sweeping.  I swear Samoans sweep the floor more than anyone I have ever met.  They also will spend a long time preparing food, as it takes a lot longer to cook over the open fire than in a palagi kitchen.  I am lucky in this factor as well, since my brother here is an amazing cook.  (Hint for Billy (my brother) when I return home…A brother that cooks is a necessity!)  They also go to church several days a week. I choose to only go on the weekends, Saturdays to my family’s church, and Sunday alternating in the village with the different churches. 

Instead I spend my time, wherever seems right.  Today I had to take a walk to the post office which is a little over a mile each way.  Because of all the relationships I have built, my trip took me well over two hours round trip.  Talking to my neighbors is a compete necessity, as is sometimes coming over to visit someone for a nice hot cup of cocoa. 

I have noticed that the longer I am here, the more people want to include me in their activities.  This can range from inviting me fishing, going to the plantation, or just joining them in a game a volleyball.  Recently I was invited to partake in two gender specific roles and I felt uncomfortable. Although I wanted to experience it, it is not my role, and I had a feeling that if I were to do them, I might have lost respect in others eyes.  One was drinking ava (known in many other countries as kava).  Men are the only ones who drink it, unless you are at an ava ceremony. Ava has an unusual taste, and although I wish I could experience it more like my Peace Corps brothers, it is looked down upon for females.  The second was joining the sa police.  The police of the village make sure that people don’t leave their house during evening prayer.  They make sure people do not distract others that are trying to pray.  In some villages, they will even stop the vehicles.  The village completely shuts down.  This is another interesting experience, but I know it would cause my neighbors to talk. 

I am probably not getting the most of my Peace Corps experience by missing some of the gender role activities, but I feel if I only found myself doing that instead of taking the time to get to know everyone I would also be missing part of the experience.  It is a hard line to draw-how much of being a volunteer is enough and when is it truly appropriate to head to the city for a break, or dive into a great book. 

I guess if I think it is enough of an experience doing my daily activities, then it must be.  I have built so many relationships that truly make me a part of the community.  I guess I am getting the true Peace Corps Experience. 

 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tattoos

Tattoos

As you might know, the Samoan culture is rich in body art-tattoos.  Tattoos are put on the body to show status.  In my opinion they are really beautiful.  They are tasteful Samoan designs all with just black ink. 

There is a problem with there being so much tattoo work.  Everyone seems to want one.  This usually means most kids when they are in the college (secondary school) have a friend or family member tattoo them the initials of their school on their hand. 

Last week, I ran into one of my former students who is in year 9.  I noticed a tattoo of his initials on his hand…and another one on his upper arm.  I inquired who did it, and it was one of his classmates, also in year 9. They had found the equipment and wanted to try it out, so they began tattooing everyone they could.  

Many times people of that age try to make their own tattooing equipment, and are quite successful-which also leads to several people being tattooed. 

I have no problem with adults getting tattoos, as they are old enough to know what they are doing, and that it is irreversible.  The problem is too many children do it, and some of them don’t realize until after, that unlike the pen tattoo they had before, they can’t get rid of it.

I think the worst tattoo story I heard was from another volunteer.  Her host brother who is 7 years old had gotten one.  His older brother made tattooing equipment, and wanted to try it out, and only his little brother was home.   The little boy spent a long time rubbing it off, and was upset to find out it was there forever. 

Tattoos when done right in Samoa are stunning, however, when they are done by amateur kids-it often looks like a dirt mark that is hard to get rid of. 

 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Mothers Day

New Mommy

Well, Happy early Mother’s Day to me.  I was planning on going for a nice run since the Independence Day race is only one month away, and only 30 seconds into my run I was stopped and ushered into the church hall.  I am now a part of the Mother’s Day celebration and will be singing and dancing with the mothers of my village.

Last year I was approached to do this, and I told them frankly, “I am not a mom.  I have no kids.  It is not a special day for me, it is a special day for you.”  I learned then though that Mother’s day is actually women’s day.  Everyone wants to celebrate the women in the village, whether they have children or not.   I was event present with candy ulu’s to thank me for being such a positive mother (or woman). 

Practice ended with enough time for me to run one mile, and I happily went off in my running shoes before sa was about to start. 

On the way home, I was lead into another church hall in the neighboring village and asked to sing with them as well.  I told them I was unable to as I was going to perform in my village, they looked upset, so I spent time singing with them anyway.  

Mothers Day is looking like it will be a fun day already, especially since I have a few families asking me already if I can join them for toogani after church, and good food always means it will be a good day. 

 

My Rat Roommate

My Rat

I was in bed trying to fall asleep, and heard a loud squeaking noise.  My rat had somehow gotten into my closed bag of food that was hanging up and had gotten stuck in the duffle bag. 

This rat seems to really like peanut butter, which is sadly something I also like…however, once the rat has eaten up the plastic to the outside of the container, and some of the peanut butter, and the ants come in, there is nothing salvageable in the container.  Too many times my rat has eaten my peanut butter. 

This rat is not a good roommate, it might be time I finally set a trap for him.  But with how accessible my room is to the outside, I am scared that I will not be able to get rid of his entire family and the peanut butter crisis will continue. 

I just don’t want to be surprised with a rat jumping on me anymore!

 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Dogs

The Dogs

                It happened.  I was caught without a rock not knowing what to do.  I began screaming, “Halo!” at the top of my lungs; but the dogs persisted and came even closer to me.  I kept screaming that word to tell the dog to get away as I searched my surroundings for a rock, there was none.  Usually you can always find at least a small rock, but in my neighboring village, there is only too much sand on the road.

                People began coming over to see what was happening.  Another person joined me in yelling, but they came even closer ready to gnaw my leg off. 

                Then from a distance a rock was thrown having the two dogs scatter and I heard a voice, “Lili, don’t you know to always carry a rock with you?”

                Some volunteers carry umbrellas around.  They are good for the heat, and if a dog comes nearby you can try to use it to get them away.  Although I have rocks in all of my bags, I usually only have a rock in hand when I see a dog I know to be particularly nasty.  There usually are no bad dogs in this area.

                I was real lucky that my neighboring village cares so much for me to help shoo the dogs away so I can try to avoid going back to America without scars on my legs from dogs. 

 

Turbo Touch

The News

I was watching the news last night and there was a new sport invented by New Zealanders.  Turbo Touch.  The sport is a mixture of rugby and netball. 

I couldn’t get the entire jest of the game, but it is played on a netball court (similar to basketball court).   Balls can be passed forward or backwards.  If the person with the ball gets touched twice, there is a change of possession.  I think scoring is similar to rugby, but it could be shooting it in the hoop. 

They said they are trying to bring this game internationally.

In other news, they mentioned on the news that Superman was getting rid of his American citizenship to help the world.