'O a mai oe? (How are you)
Things have been busy, but fun. On Sunday we had the day at the beach (Cultural Awareness Day). All previous volunteers say that it was their favorite day of training. We swam, snorkelled... It was fun, but you could tell it was still a little wild. There was this one type of fish called a trigger fish and it was very territorial. It would swim in the same area, and if you came near, it bit you! Almost everyone got bit. And it was mean, never swam away if you tried to thrash at it or anything. I got attacked by three at the same time. Let me make it very clear however that they are very small and beautiful, so they trick you. :) It was a very beautiful beach (everything here is). It's the beach where all the palagi's (white people) go. One Samoan guy there taught us how to climb a coconut tree and get them down. We learned awhile ago how to crack them open already. We ate some sashimi. (Mom, you'd love this). It's raw yellowfin tuna cut into small pieces and then you dip it into a soy sauce/wasabi mix with a TON of wasabi!
Saturday night we had the Fiafia. Where the most recent group of volunteers (group 74) put on a traditional samoan feast/dance for us. [Side note: We are group 75. The oldest group which leaves when we swear in is Group 71. They come in every 6 months or so.] Anyways, they sand, did a few dances. One was the slap dance where the guys run around in their lavalava's (wraparound skirts) and slap themselves. Another was the virgin princess dance. A woman dressed up in the traditional chieftan princess garb and she spun a sowrd. But I think that the best part was the Samoan fire dancer. They hired the international fire dancer champion, and he came and did 2 dances where he spun around sticks lit on fire. One part he shook one of the traineers hands while on fire. It was pretty awesome. You'd have to see it. Maybe I'll take it up as a hobby. :) Then we ate a TON of food prepared by the current volunteers. Some was traditional Samoan food: Octopus, sashimi, a lot of coconut related products, taro (which I am not a fan of), breadfruit (a tastless starchy fruit also not a fan of)... But the best were the desserts. Samoan's love sweets. Everything has coconut in it or cacoa.
So far, I am definatly glad that I joined the Peace Corps. They say that teh 10 weeks of training are tough, but also easy because we take a lot of classes and do a lot of studying. I liken it to being Freshmen in college. We are still in the dorm, most things are done for us. :)
We leave for the village on Friday. Our village where we will be living and training for awhile is called Falevao. It is on this island ('Uplolu). The name either means big grassy house, or toilet. Most Samoan words have double meanings. And EVERY word, if you miss pronounce it, is a swear word. Every word. We have heard many stories of volunteers who have made these mistakes and have been told we will make some embarassing ones ourselves. So we have to be really efficient in our language. Falevao is a little inland from the coast, and is on a river. I am excited and anxious about living in the village. We will be living with Samoan families in the tradional style houses, open air fales. Which are usually one big room. And we sleep in the corner on the floor. Some have rooms. It will take some getting used to the no privacy aspect of it. We will be there until October 30th. Then back in the hotel for a little while longer. We find out where we will be placed October 29th. So during the time in the village communication is pretty limited, actually non-existent. I will update my site again when I return from the first village stay.
I am having my birthday 3 days after we arrive in the village, that will be interesting and I think a little hard since my family has always been into birthdays.
Until next time: Fa'afetai. Tofa.