Palagis in Puletasis

The past few days have been filled with orientation sessions – everything from lesson planning to traditional Samoan dress to native foods to the aiga bus routes. It’s been a lot of information to take in but will be so helpful as we move out and start teaching. I love the Samoan culture and people and they seem to love WorldTeach. Living here has gotten the 10 of us instant celebrity status. Everyone knows that the WorldTeachers have arrived on island due to the coconut wireless (things spread FAST here) and since they get so few tourists it is obvious that the group of palagis roaming the street speaking the few Samoan words they know are the new WorldTeachers. Cars that drive by honk, people wave, we get questioned almost everywhere about where we are from and where we will be teaching, and best of all people love to give us rides. Trucks are the most popular car here and speed limits are slow. People typically drive only 15 miles per hour and fill the backs of their truck with friends and family. We’ve even seen people put foldable chairs in back to make it more comfortable. After our first Samoan language course yesterday we were all planning to walk to the phone store to get our local cell phones. Our awesome language instructor filled his car both in the cab and in back with 8 of us and dropped us off. After a few more sessions last night we walked to Manu’a Store (it’s like the walmart of Tutuila- but on a smaller scale of course) to buy fabric to take to the sew shop to get our WorldTeach uniforms made later this week. I attached a photo of 1 row of many in the store. The options for fabrics are endless! On the way home a truck pulled up, greeted us, and offered us a ride back to PolyTech. The 7 of us piled in back and they dropped us off with Rod, the school principal/night security guard. They were so friendly and riding in the back of a truck with the breeze blowing in your hair and the stars shining above your head is amazing! Like I said, I love it here for so many reasons!

On Sundays almost all Samoans go to church. The men get up early and make an umu to prepare the food for the feast afterwards. And umu is a traditional underground way of cooking using hot rocks and banana leaves. The food goes in with the rocks and is covered and left to cook for several hours. There are also several other dishes that the women prepare outside of the umu. Our orientation staff brought us some umu food the other day to sample. If you look at the photos there is white rice, above is breadfruit, some sort of meat, taro with taro leaves and coconut sauce on top, oka (raw tuna in coconut sauce), and a ground corn beef dish. They all have traditional names as well but I can’t spell them yet…

We had a meeting at the Department of Education (DoE) yesterday and a group of us all wore puletasis for the first time, so I’ll leave you a picture of the palagis wearing traditional Samoan puletasis. We also bought lava lavas, but that’s for another post.

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4 thoughts on “Palagis in Puletasis

  1. That looks DELICIOUS. Also, you should make a blanket or a pair of shorts with that fabric! They would be SO COOL.

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