After a few weeks with nothing too exciting to blog about, things have started happening again!
1. Zumba assembly – On Wednesday we had shortened classes so that the students could attend a Zumba assembly sponsored by the Department of Health. A team was brought in from Tutuila to work with the doctor here in Ta’u to lead Zumba in each village and at the high school. The kids asked all day if they were required to attend the school Zumba and a few even asked to do their study hall detentions to get out of it. We corralled them all into the gym and once the music started they were all loving it. The kids all love to dance, and once they figured out that Zumba is like a giant dance party they couldn’t get enough. If they couldn’t follow the moves they made up their own and didn’t want it to end. The teachers participated for a few songs before calling it quits so we could film the students. I have some really good videos that I can’t get WordPress to upload, so pictures will have to do for now.
2. Fish – After getting a lead from Cat and Wes I was able to talk to a student last week about buying fish from her parents. They showed up Thursday night with a cooler in the back of their truck containing 2 huge fish. Sasha and I bought the tail end of the larger fish, which ended up being about 5.5 pounds for $15. We brought the fish home and cut it into fillets to freeze. We have enough for both of us to have about 5 meals of fish now. Leafa, the store owner in Faleasao, just got in carrots and potatoes, so we bought some Friday and made ourselves a real meal of baked fish, roasted potatoes and cooked carrots. It was all amazing!
After we picked out the fish we wanted we headed down to the store to get the fish weighed so we could pay for it. I then needed a way to carry it home. In true Samoan fashion I used what was immediately available and chose to put it in an Orange Crush box.
3. Puppies – Dakota apparently had her puppies a few weeks ago, and they finally came out of hiding. Sasha and I have fallen in love. While the puppy we found our first weeks here was cute, we weren’t ready for a pet yet. But now that we are settled we figured we are ready to take on a puppy or two. We brought Dakota’s puppies in the house while we cooked our fish dinner on Friday. They explored, peed on the floor, curled up in a box, ate fish guts, and cuddled on the couch with us. We took them back to the bushes where they have been living for the night so they can spend a little more time with mom before we try to get them to live in our yard. We brought them back to our house Sunday evening and fed them smashed bananas and played in the fale with them for a bit. The smaller one is a chewer, but luckily his teeth are too small to do actual damage to my fingers and toes. We plan to bring them to the house more and more until they are big enough to live totally on their own. Puppies here have a rough life but our little guys are doing good so far! A neighbor at home has an awesome vet who was nice enough to pass along some heartworm medicine for the village dogs. Dakota and Lolo love it. Tele was unsure, but I bribed her into eating it. Thanks to Beth and her vet!
4. Meetings and mail –The Director of Education paid Manu’a a visit last week. We had a meeting with her on Wednesday, which I wasn’t particularly looking forward too. These meetings are typically done in Samoan and the little bit that is in English is mostly people dancing around questions they can’t/don’t want to answer. Unexpectedly, our meeting with the director was done in a fairly even split of English and Samoan and there was actually some good ideas discussed, including expanding the WorldTeach program in the coming years. Since the program was set to be cut by DoE after next year that is a great change. While I don’t think staffing schools through WorldTeach should be a permanent solution, the schools can’t afford to have the program cut right now. The other plus to the meeting was that we got a free bag of Bongos and a free orange pineapple soda. The plane also came Wednesday and brought us mail. I got several awesome packages from my parents and grandparents (thanks!) and the hammock I had ordered online. I spent the weekend lounging on the beach and in our fale. Did I mention that the store got ice cream sandwiches? I ate ice cream in a hammock on the beach. My life rocks.
The kids found me after a few hours…
5.White Sunday – White Sunday is a holiday in American Samoa that celebrates the children. The day begins with a 3 hour long church service lead by the children. They have been practicing their prayers, songs, and skits after school and on the weekends for the past several weeks. As the name suggests, everyone wears all white on White Sunday. A lot of the songs and skits the kids did were in Samoan – some I could follow along with but there was still a lot I didn’t understand. They were all very well rehearsed though and really cute to watch. 3 babies also seem to have been baptized, but again, I am going solely on what it looked like and the few words I actually understood. During the final song the kids are all presented with candy ula. It seems that being palagi also earns us one, which I won’t complain about. The kids spend the rest of the day with their families playing and eating candy, cake, and ice cream. It’s interesting how hard the kids have to work to prepare for a day that is meant to celebrate them, but they seem to enjoy it :) Since Sundays are no fun days (nor outdoor sports or swimming allowed), I spent some more time reading in my hammock in the fale.