Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Sa to Go

It’s Sa to Go.
Three years ago during our safety and security training we were warned about different places.  They wanted to make sure we were always safe and told us to avoid some of the places that might cause trouble. Those are the places where you only find Samoans and often fights break out.  We were warned and heard some horror stories to make sure we stayed away.  It seemed reason enough for me to go, and I truthfully had no desire. 
For a long time whenever others wanted to go to these places, I responded by telling them it is sa (not allowed) to go.  One year ago, I went to my first of those places with another volunteer and several of our Samoan friends.  It felt weird, like I was disobeying someone by going there.  I was committing the biggest sin of all by not listening to my safety and security officer.  I have known many, many people to go to these places, and from what I was understanding, it seemed as if there was a big enough group of you there and people to look after you, you would be fine.  I think they were correct, because when someone would approach me that I didn’t want near me, I was easily able to hide behind one of my big Samoan friends.  I really enjoyed it because there was good music for dancing and I think everyone in the world knows how much Samoans love to dance.
Two weekends ago I went to a second place on the list.  This time I was only accompanied by Samoan friends….which meant I was the only palagi in the entire establishment.  It is funny because even though I am palagi, I feel that I act more Samoan than some of the people I saw inside.  For example, a girl came over o me and was so excited to see me because I was palagi and spoke English, because even though she is Samoan she knew none of the language.  The way she dressed, many people would be offended by, yet she had no clue.  I felt bad for her because she has such a rich heritage, yet she knows nothing about it because she was raised overseas. 
I had a good time there because of the band giving it a lively atmosphere.  It reminded me of the only nightclub in Savaii, as the boys ask you to dance politely.  It is okay for you to follow junior high school dance protocol by being a few feet apart while dancing, and after the dance, an appropriate way to thank another for the dance is a handshake.  After the dance, you can run to the side, and begin to ponder if someone will ask you to another dance. 
I enjoyed being at these places, but I see how there can be problems.  Many Samoans do not know how to control themselves when drinking as they do not know when their limit has been reached; therefore too many patrons at these establishments are ona tele (very drunk).  When drunk boys are present, often there is trouble in my mind.  Fights can break out making the night less enjoyable.
 I am lucky that my two nights at the faasa nightclubs nothing happened.  But I feel as if I kept safe by having my group with me.
I still feel like a rebel for going there…

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