Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I have trouble with time.  It can drag.  Or speed by in the blink of an eye.  Samoa has not helped.  I never know when things will start here.  Or end.  Church is scheduled for 9:00 a.m.  Sometimes it starts then, but that's rare.  Usually it's more like 9:20 a.m.  Rarely, it's 8:45 a.m.

School is the same way.  We have a schedule.  We ring the bell when it is time to start assembly, start classes, have interval, etc.  But the time varies.  Today, we were running early.  Instead of the normal 8:10 bell, it rang at 8:00. The bell for interval, which normally is at 11:20 rang at 11:10.  I was in the middle of something with my class so we kept going until 11:20.

I was substitute teaching for Year 8 today.  Their teacher, who is also the principal was at a meeting.  The Year 7 teacher could have taken them since he wasn't teaching Year 7 but he was too tired.  He went to Australia just when school started.  After the two month break, followed by his 3 week vacation overseas, he says he's too tired to teach so needed this week to rest.  While I taught Years 7 and 8 today, he slept in the library.

At the end of the day I'd taken Year 8 out to the hall.  I'd asked the neighbor boy who's in that class to cut some sticks for me.  I asked for four.  He brought me 24. 

I showed the kids how to play a game that involves rhythmic hitting and throwing of the sticks between pairs of players.  It's a Maori game I saw at the cultural show in New Zealand.  The kids loved it.  Since there is no love lost between Samoans and Maoris I didn't tell them where the game came from.

I was busy working with the kids as they learned this new game when the Infant Supervisor asked what I was doing.  I explained the game.  "No" she said.  "Why are you still here?" 

I looked around and realized all the other kids were headed toward the street with the teachers on their heels.  I looked at my watch.  We still had 30 minutes before school was scheduled to be out.  The Infant Supervisor explained that she dismissed the school early because she and the other teachers wanted to go into town to the bank.  We dismissed early yesterday, too, because it was payday and they wanted to go to the bank.

I hustled the kids back up stairs and we finished up and said a prayer.  The other teachers were gone by the time I left school.  Still 5 minutes before school was supposed to be over.

I feel like I just got to Samoa.  I feel like I've been here a lifetime.  I don't understand time.


  1. wow! pretty sad all those things that they are doing at the school. there is no consistency and schedule sounds non-existent. maybe you should teach in american samoa, so you don't have to go through all of that and you'd have a palagi house with regular toilet paper etc. what youre doing for our people back there in samoa but they obviously are not doing themselves any justice by being lazy and not being better examples for the kids ....that lazy teacher should not be collecting a pay check...sorry SOB ...hehe ....take care nancy; onosa'i ....malo lava lou galue ...." be patient (which you have been more than necessary), and great job with the work you're doing"

  2. Hi,
    I was wondering if you ever got a package that was sent off for your class? Have you not received anything in the mail yet?

  3. It is frustrating sometimes but the teachers are acting the way they were taught so it's hard to blame them. The other day as I started teaching a class the teacher came in and said "It is eating time." I said "No, it is teaching time." I was the only teacher in a classroom. By Samoan values, I was wrong - it was more important to spend time with the other teachers, eating. Different views, different values.

    Nope, haven't gotten the package yet, but looking forward to it! Thanks in advance for your generosity. Looking forward to meeting you when you come to Savaii!