As you may recall from my earlier posts, the start of the school year was delayed when the Department of Health shut down the public schools due to unsanitary conditions. To make up for the missed days the school year was extended slightly and some holidays were cut. One of these cuts was 2 days of spring break. Students took quarter 3 midterms Monday and Tuesday, and Spring Break was Wednesday-Sunday. To celebrate the end of the 3rd quarter the Faleasao teachers gathered to eat Samoas in Samoa as the sunset. One more thing I can check off the bucket list.
Alex and Peter, WorldTeachers in Tutuila, were able to get on the Wednesday flight (only the second flight after Inter Island temporarily shut down) and came to visit Manu’a. As soon as they arrived we hurried them to the wharf in Ta’u where we boarded a boat to Ofu. We spent a few glorious days at the Vaoto Lodge and showed them our favorite Ofu/Olosega attractions before taking boats back to Ta’u on Friday. Since we did basically the same thing as our last trip to Ofu I won’t go into detail, but I’ve included a few photos.
While there were still 2.5 days of break remaining when we left Ofu on Friday morning, we had a very important reason to go home early. The Faleasao Siva was scheduled for Friday night, and Sasha and I did not want to miss out since Faleasao Sivas are known to be the best. ‘Siva’ is the Samoan word for ‘dance’. Sivas are typically held as fundraisers for the village and church. The Siva was held in the fale (a structure similar to a gazebo) at Trish and Tautua’s house (our principal and her husband). From what I understand, each family is called upon to dance several times. Matais (village chiefs) go first, Aumaga (men below the matai) go second, and the rest of the family goes third. Every time a new person goes up to dance in the middle of the fale for their family villagers who enjoy their dancing go up and throw money. The matai pick this money up and total it. While the goal is ultimately to raise money for the village, it is also a contest to see which family can earn the most money for the village through their dancing. Mixed in with the family dances are songs for the entire village. The boys/men invite the girls/women up for a dance and lead you into the fale. This was my favorite part. A few young men asked me to dance as did a handful of my students. Only in Samoa is it acceptable for teachers to spend their Friday night dancing with their drunk high school students at the principal’s house. The siva lasted from about 8pm-11pm, raised about $32,700, and is on my list of top 10 Samoan experiences.
The rest of the weekend was filled with trips to the beach during the day and spear fishing at night. A special note to my mom- I finally got you your prefect seashell while we were in the wharf Saturday night. I will be burying it in the yard soon to get the animal out so it is smell-free by June!
Monday begins fourth quarter, which will most likely be my last at Manu’a High School. I can’t believe how fast the year has gone by. In only 74 days my seniors will be high school graduates and in 83 days I will be landing in Chicago. But for now, it’s back to work. Classes start tomorrow and I have yet to do my lesson plans.