Thanks for all of your comments, concerns and prayers for my health! My face is really starting to clear up, though there is some scarring, and I finish the medicine for the strep tomorrow. So, back on the mend with a few new postings for you!
Beginning of October marked our annual Cultural Day. Last year I think we held it in June, but this year due to postponements (for example the Prime Minister dying in May) we held it fairly late.
For those of you who don’t remember or have forgotten since last year, cultural day is when the whole school is split into 4 different groups “houses” and prepare songs, dances and skits to compete for the best house. It’s also the time when we have our annual Ms and Mr Uesiliana College competition. The theme of this years’ Cultural Day was “Other Nations.” I think in the spirit of the recently ended South Pacific games, in which 32 different island nations were competing in Samoa, our school chose a similar theme in which each house had to prepare songs and dances that reflected some of those nations. My house represented Tonga. The other houses’ represented Tokelau, New Zealand and Fiji. For the most part the dances were Samoan, but there was an extra little flair in them attributed to the represented nation. For example, the house that chose New Zealand for their country put on a mix of Samoan and Maori dancing… and they stuck their tongues out a lot (something the New Zealand rugby team does).
The night before the event, I wandered up to the hall around a quarter to midnight and everyone was still up and working. I ended up helping out a little even. One of the dresses that one of the Ms Uesiliana competitors was going to wear had a beautiful hand painted flower on the front of it. However, the paint had bled quite a bit into the fabric and it did not look very good. I mentioned that I had acrylic paints in my house and one of the paints matched the fabric color of the dress. So, around midnight I was meticulously painting a dress. For the day of, Laupama made me a nice new bright orange puletasi for the occasion. She also made matching puletasi’s with the fabric for her 2 girls.
Another volunteer from the new group, Kate, took a bus out to watch the festivities with me. She lives in Tafua-tai about an hour bike ride away. Some of my students live in her village and they were excited to see her there. Plus it was fun to watch the dancing and skits and talk with someone during it. Most of the other teachers are busy working: serving food to parents and guests, preparing the clothes for the Mr and Ms Competitions, counting up the money from the donations, running the songs and dances, or just staying busy. They usually don’t let me help with any of that even though I try, so I end up sitting in the front taking pictures.
Overall, it was really similar to last year, but it was fun to watch slightly different variations of the usual dances. Below are a few pictures from the event.