Tuesday, October 4, 2011


It was a good day, had a dip, then soared.   Kids and teachers were into preparing for Teachers’ Day.  I had a good lesson with Year 7, using the postcards we’ve received as the basis.  Responses from us may seem slow but please understand.  These are kids who’d never seen a postcard.  They receive no mail.  Junk or otherwise.  The concept of sending a postcard is new.  Today, we practiced by writing a postcard message to a friend in the class.  They got it.  Hurray!

At the end of the day we had a dress rehearsal  for the Teachers’ Day performance.  Watching Year 1 do a haka, I almost wet myself, I was laughing so hard.  First, hakas are Maori, not Samoan.  Funnier, though, is that a haka is a war dance.   The purpose is to strike fear in the hearts of your enemies.  Funny, then, to see tiny tots stamping their feet and making threatening gestures, while saying they love their teachers.  Irony, eh?

I’d had 30 minutes over two days to work with Years 7 and 8 on a jazz chant…or Granny Rap.  The kids did their best and had fun but were criticized.  Actually, the criticism was aimed at me.  “The words weren’t clear.”  True enough.  Some of the kids speak very little English, so just yelled sounds to be part of the show. 

Tomorrow, we’ll try a slower version.  The kids were chastised and told to learn the words by the show.  They have to learn at least one new song for each class, plus since this is the week of White Sunday, they also have to memorize multiple songs/dances/plays for church.  That’s a lot of pressure.

After school, I raced home to drop off my bags, then headed to town.  I wanted to buy avocadoes and mangoes at the market.  No luck.  I bought oranges and bananas instead.  Then I hit the post office, although I didn’t have high hopes.  Boy, was I wrong.

The very nice Post Mistress brought the whole stack of PC mail to sort.  Half of it was mine!  Fa’afetai lava (thanks very much) to Lew for his third postcard from Amish country.  Thanks too, to Carol and Doug from Tallahassee.  Beautiful town, where I was lucky enough to spend some time a couple of years ago.  Thanks to Dorothy who sent  great postcards from Cape Cod and Niagara Falls.  Kathy, from NY, thanks for sending the postcard from Colorado! 

The postcards help the kids understand geography.  They practice English.  They connect to a broader world.  My thanks to you for helping in this effort.  I wish you could be there to see the kids looking at the pictures and reading your messages.

In addition to the postcards, I got 2 packages.  Packages have slowed in coming and that’s as it should be.  I really have all I need and it is so expensive to send them here, not to mention a PIA.  Having said that, it makes me appreciate them even more when they arrive.  Especially when I’m having a “nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I just want to go home and eat worms” kind of moment.

Kia , Pool Boy and my favorite movie producer…thank you so much for your package.  Crystal Lite is known here as Palagi Water, since when anyone asks if they can drink from my bottle I say “Sure, it’s ****(explaining the flavor).  Diet soda is hard to find and expensive.   The option to drink a flavored water without a lot of calories is awesome.  And thanks so much for including all the postcards of Florida!  I admit, on this anniversary of 1 year away from home, I got a bit teary as I looked at the postcard of Orlando. 

I’ve learned a lot here in Samoa.  About myself, mostly.  Who knew I’d learn about American products here?  First it was air dried green chiles and tonight…powdered peanut butter!  Sister Mary Margaret – where did you get it?  Amazing!  I also appreciate all the stickers and flash cards.  They will be a huge hit at school. Thanks so much for your thoughtful package.

Today had its ups and downs.  I was thinking on the way home on the bus about it.  The same as being at home, really.  Some really good stuff.  Some tougher stuff.  Two big differences, though:
·         Yesterday evening I was walking home from volleyball.  A young boy called my name and waved.  I waved back.  He was so excited he started walking backwards, waving at me with both arms fully extended. To him, I’m a rock star.
·         Friends took the time, spent the money and were thoughtful enough to send stuff half way around the world for me and the kids I’m teaching.
Someone asked me recently if I regretted joining the PC.  Hell no!  It’s a challenge.  And a joy.  Like the recent tagline said:  Peace Corps, the toughest job you’ll ever love.

I prefer the earlier tagline:  Peace Corps:  We Work for Love.

Thanks for the love.

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