Monday, March 19, 2012
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Dogs on the Road
Walking on the road in the dark can be scary in different areas for different reasons. In some countries you might be scared of theft, here you don’t have that problem as much, but you still need to worry about one thing. Dogs.
During the night (and often during the day) dogs rule the roads here in Samoa. Throughout the night they sleep in the middle of the road (I must admit, they have it right to stay warm). They can get angry with you for disturbing their peaceful sleep, even if it is by walking slowly and quietly next to them. This could turn into a chase where the human is running away screaming, “halu” (Go away) at the top of their lungs (This is often the case for me…) or you need to bring things to defend yourself from this vicious enemy.
Some people walk or run with umbrellas to ward off the dogs, others bring golf clubs, but the most common is rocks. It is easy to pick up a rock to throw at the dogs to tell them to stop it and leave you alone.
I am not advocating that injuring dogs is the right method for safety, but what are you to do when you are being chased by several dogs just for using “their road” and you have nothing to defend yourself.
The hard part about being in Apia is that you always have to be “on”. You have to remember you are always the center of attention and all eyes are on you at all times. Watching how you dress and how you talk seems to be taken to another extreme than in the village, which is strange because you are living in a more liberal world.
While everyone else can get away with wearing certain clothes, as the sole Peace Corps Volunteer in Apia, wearing shorts or pants will cause everyone to talk. My first day back I tested the waters by wearing shorts (as I really didn’t want to unpack my things right away) and I had a few people talking about how I was dressed inappropriately (the shorts were almost to my knees, so a tad too short).
Presentation is still important. While I was in the US, I decided to cut my hair short. It is short enough that it was difficult to pull back in a ponytail without missing about half of my hairs. I tried wearing my hair down one day, and it was immediately put up by another who began to criticize me.
The media is also always around, and you never seem to know when you might be on television or in the newspaper. One day I got a text message saying they were glad I was back and only knew because I was on television. I never knew I was going to be in the media.
Another difficult part of always being on is you never knew who you would meet or see. I have often run into people who are of importance, and they always seem to be everywhere. Representing yourself, your country, and your host job agency means you have to stand with pride everywhere.
It has its advantages being on, as you are able to meet some of the most interesting people in the world and often get invited to do things you would never expect. But are there really enough hours in the day to do everything?
In the village you also had to be on….but it felt like you could hide a little bit more. Less often people outside the village will see you so you do not have to deal with pressures when you are outside the village.
Some days if feels as though there is a big sign over my forehead saying, “look at me and judge me as much as possible!” This is something I won’t miss when I arrive back in the United States.
Friday, March 2, 2012
The problem with hot water is you can easily forget hot to be used to it. Showering with hot water used to be such an enjoyable experience. However, when you have collected so many cuts, blisters, rashes and whatever else around your body-hot water showers can be painful!
One of my Peace Corps sisters is ill, so I was asked to stay with her to make sure she has everything she needs. Shopping for food and drinks to whatever little errand she needed. Because of this, I spent the night at the hotel, which meant my first hot water shower since leaving the States in January.
Maybe when I am in the US I am not as much of a klutz to make hot water showers become a haven in which you want to spend your morning and evening…but here because of all of the abrasions on my body-it kills!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
What I learned about boys
This is what I have learned about boys from my time in the capital.
· It is not strange for a boy to compliment another boy’s body.
· Boys can walk around in short shorts and then comment and complain when they see a girl in short shorts.
· When a boy wants to borrow gym shorts from a girl, he will complain about them being too long.
· Boys have big muscles because trees are hard to climb.
· When boys go out sometimes they like to have a dress code amongst friends. i.e. wear a white shirt and black bottom.
· Boys also have big muscles from the big baskets they have to carry at the plantation.