While I was in Fiji, my brother and sister brought out things that I requested. One of them was shoes. I go through sneakers quickly in Samoan terms from using them daily running through different terrains. Today I decided was the perfect day to try them out.
I have been ka’a from kolini because of joining the band and not having the time to run, and not wanting to wake up in the morning to run in the dark. So it has been about a month since I have run to the right of my house. I was so happy I did. I missed those people in my neighboring villages. I love the call from all of my friends and students. I used to hate how it interrupted my breathing to answer, but I have truly come to adore the “Where are you going?” every minute of my run. I must have been invited to rest at two dozen houses.
I decided to stop my run early when I saw a volleyball game two villages away. It is so nice how welcoming everyone is in this area. I truly don’t think there is anyone in this area who does not know my name, making me feel like a complete celebrity. The village I stopped in is split in two categories: people who call me Riri, and those who call me Lili. I think there is real confusion on what my given name truly is.
After the games, I walked back, looking forward to the many houses I planned to toma (rest) at. I picked one of my favorite year 8’s houses. His mother is hysterical in her efforts to find me a uo. We ended up playing the game of me yelling, “Malo pe’u!” to each male that passed on the road to see if anyone would stop. I think we intimidated many of the men, and would only get little comments back from them.
As I continued on, one foot began to hurt more and more. For some reason, one shoe was tighter than the other. I couldn’t take it anymore. I found a child who likes to go running with me, and saw his feet were about the same size as mine, and gave him my shoes. He was so surprised and grateful. I love the smile on these children’s faces when they get a present they were not expecting. I told him this means he will have to train with me more often, and I know he will, as long as he does not have many chores.
I continued on walking without my shoes on for the last three quarters of a mile. I had a few people stop to ask me where my shoes were, and I just responded, “there,” which made us all laugh. I stopped a few more times to talk with people, which was so enjoyable.
I know I must talk many times about my experiences training in my village, but it is because it gives me such a wonderful feeling in my heart. I really love being with the people in my village, and neighboring villages. I really don’t think there is a better feeling in the world.