Island Love

Prepare yourselves. This is a long one…

Our amazing field director Isaac gave us Saturday off from orientation sessions to explore the island. We wanted to make the best of the day so we woke up around 6:45 and were off shortly later on our first adventure, a hike to Nu’uuli falls. As we stepped out the door a huge rainbow appeared above the hills. From that moment we knew it was going to be a great day, but little did we know how great it could get. It was about a 20 minute walk from the VoTech campus to the trail head behind Family Mart that heads up to Nu’uuli falls. By this point the reef shoes I brought that I thought would be perfect for the occasion were rubbing raw spots in the backs of my feet and my bandaging attempts were failing. I had to do the rest of the hike in my flip flops, but it actually wasn’t too bad. From Family Mart we spent about 25 more minutes hiking through the rainforest determined to find the falls. There has been a lot of rain here lately, which made the hike so much more interesting. The trail was muddy and the usually calm stream that you have to cross at 2 separate points during the hike was much higher than usual and moving quickly. The term ‘trail’ is also used loosely in this situation. After forging through the steam and the brush we finally found the waterfall. It was such a beautiful sight. Suddenly out of the thick brush of the rainforest the waterfall in all its glory appears through an opening in the trees. Because of all the rain the waterfall was also flowing a lot stronger than usual. You can typically swim in the pool at the bottom, but it was clear that that would not have been a good idea so we stayed on the edges and just took in the sights and sounds of the jungle. The sound of the falling water is impressive and the spray of the water soaked us from head to toe even though we never actually went swimming. After enjoying the larger fall we picked our way through the jungle to another smaller waterfall. We explored a little more and took plenty of photos before navigating our way back through the water and forest and heading into town. From there we hopped on an aiga bus and headed into down town Pago Pago for the next adventure.

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From Pago Pago we got another bus that was heading towards Aoa and had the driver drop us off at Tisa’s Barefoot Bar. The bar owners (a Samoan and her Native New Zealander boyfriend) had invited all the new WorldTeachers to come by and enjoy the weekend with them. The beach their bar is on is one of the very few where American style swimwear is allowed. It was Matt’s birthday so we celebrated with some swimming in the South Pacific, some fresh caught wahoo and homemade breadfruit chips, and the local beer for lunch/dinner. It all tasted so good! The beach wasn’t great for snorkeling because of the low tide and current but we did see some amazing electric blue fish, an eel, countless hermit crabs, and a few flying fox. The beach is perfect for lounging in the water and just relaxing. You can float in the water and look up at the rainforest covered mountains on one side of you and waves crashing into the reef on the other. After enjoying a long afternoon at the beach we put our conservative Samoan attire back on and headed out to the road to wait for a bus. Buses here don’t run on a schedule, especially on the east end of the island where we were, so you really never know if/when one might come. After about 20 minutes of waiting a pickup truck pulled over and offered us all a ride back into town. We all piled into the back and thanked the driver for stopping for us. After a fun ride along the coast he pulled over in Pago Pago at the main bus stop and we all began to hop out to go catch a bus back to Nu’uuli. Turns out he was just dropping off Isaac, our field director who had joined us at the beach, so he could grab a bus to his house in Leone. He told us all to get back in the truck and he would take us back to campus. We hopped back into the truck bed and he dropped us off right at the gate to VoTech. I love that hitch hiking here is totally normal and very safe.

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We were off this morning as well. Sunday is a day of rest so besides church activities the island basically shuts down. We originally had plans to go to church with Api, one of our language instructors, but he had a flat tire and wasn’t able to come get us. Luckily he called Saturday night and told us so we were able to spend the morning sleeping in and resting up for week 2. And blogging of course :) Since sessions just ended and it’s only 2:30 we are hoping to sneak out and spend some time at airport beach.

Words really can’t describe the amazing day we had so this is a picture heavy blog post. Enjoy! 

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6 thoughts on “Island Love

  1. I am so glad you are enjoying your experience, learning so much and sharing ti with us via your blog!! :)

  2. Hi Jackie! Glad all is going so great. We have enjoyed hearing about all your adventures so far! It looks beautiful. Have fun. Take care :)

  3. Great post! I really loved talking on FaceTime today. And hey, I invited you to church every Sunday…hmmm. Love you and miss you.

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