Yes, that was one of our vocabulary words last week for Year 7. The kids are excited because it is the end of the term and I’m excited about my friend HB coming to visit.
Since she’s flown halfway around the world I figured the least I can do is meet her at the airport. I’ll head out to catch the bus at 6:30 a.m. Then the 8:00 a.m. ferry to Upolu. Then I’ll either take the bus or splurge on the short cab ride from the Mulifanua Wharf to the Faleolo Airport. Both the wharf and airport are over an hour away from Apia, in the middle of pretty much nowhere.
The only thing there is Aggie Grey’s resort, which boasts a golf course and great view of Savaii. It’s also famous here and in New Zealand as the place where the cast and crew of Survivor have been holed up for a couple of months. When Survivor producers waved what is rumored to be over a million USD in front of the resort management they summarily cancelled all pre-existing reservations. Most from Kiwis.
I should arrive at the airport about 9:30 a.m. I’ll peruse the gift shops and perhaps have a bite to eat while waiting for the flight, which is scheduled to arrive at 12:45 p.m. Oh, wait. There are no gift shops or restaurants. It is a small airport. I did hear that sometimes a vendor is there selling hotdogs.
After I say “Afio mai i Samoa!” (Welcome to Samoa) to HB we’ll hop in a cab to head back to the wharf. We could make the 2:00 p.m. boat to Savaii if she clears customs quickly, but small airport doesn’t necessarily equate to speedy airport. I’m assuming we’ll be on the 4:00 p.m. boat. Once on Savaii, just a five minute cab ride to the car rental place. They promised to remain open for us to pick up the car, since they normally close at 4:30. We should get to Heidi’s hotel by 6:00 p.m.
After that, it’s HB’s trip. I have to be at school on Thursday and Friday, but they’ll be short days, over by 12:30 p.m. I’m hoping she’ll join me, since Thursday is sports day and what’s more fun than 250 excited kids doing sack and 3-legged races?
Friday is prize giving. Grades are announced, along with class rankings. Parents attend and ulas, some flower and some candy, are handed out by the parents to the teachers. Some parents also give cash to teachers as a thank you. There are speeches by each teacher. I was told I was expected to make a speech, in Samoan. I showed a copy of what I’d prepared to my boss today and was told I should save it for the end of the year. I’ll bet you $50 I’ll be asked to stand up and speak to everyone in Samoan. I’ll add another $50 to that bet that I’ll be asked to dance for everyone. They have the kids sing and I dance. Samaoans seem to find few things as entertaining as watching a palagi dance. I don’t mind, but please don’t tell HB, because she’ll also likely be asked to dance, too. The only thing better than one dancing palagi is two!
One of the teachers is moving to New Zealand so we’re planning a fiafia (party) to say goodbye after the prize giving. The children have been asked to give gifts, the teachers have collected money to give and we’re all bringing food. Food will be the big event. The principal will make an umu (hot rocks used to cook the food) and roast a pig along with taro, breadfruit and palusami (coconut cream in young taro leaves). There will also be green bananas, chopsuey, potato salad, canned mackerel and egg salad sandwiches. I’m bringing the egg salad sandwiches which are popular here. I was told to make sandwiches out of 4 loaves of bread. I believe the food portion of the program is just for the teachers, but could also be for the parents. 10 teachers, 250 or so kids and if last term is indicative, about 30 parents. In one classroom. It promises to be cozy.
I’m excited to see HB. I’m also excited that she’ll get a taste (literally) of the real Samoa this week. Hmmm, I wonder if I should have a puletasi for her to wear?