It was an interesting day. As I posted earlier, the bells started ringing early. Over an hour early. When I got to school one of the teachers was directing kids to do the normal morning chores - an hour early. Most of the kids hadn't arrived yet.
I asked what was up. "Feeling good. Time to work!" Okey dokey, then. I also noticed that all the other teachers were sporting white shirts/blouses and blue ie lava lavas. I was wearing my normal Monday attire, which involved blue and black.
I asked my boss for an update on attire and timing. Was I miss a memo? Yes, seems I did. We now have a new uniform for Mondays. I have to figure out where I can come up with a cheap puletasi top by next Monday.
I asked if we were changing uniforms for other days. "Not yet." Hmmm. It costs me about $50 USD for a new puletasi. This far into service I really don't care to buy any more.
At the time that normally signals the end of the day, nobody was going anywhere. I'd taken on my principal's class earlier and he didn't come to take them back so when dismissal bell rang I was the teacher. I went to where he was doing administrivia and asked if I could send them home. Yes.
I went back to the class, did the prayer and told them to head for home. Then another teacher came in and said to keep them there. Seems the pule forgot that he wanted to do an extra class to prepare for a district wide exam next year. I wasn't aware of that either.
I hung out with some of the kids while I waited for the bus. They belong to the family that lives between my house and the school. Richard, the three year old is my favorite. While we waited, he didn't hesitate to drop trou and take a leak from the bus stop. As I crossed the road to get on the bus, he was waving and shouting my name, along with "Fa" - the Samoan goodbye. He kept waving and shouting and I kept waving and shouting "So long!" until the bus was well down the road. He makes me smile.
In town, I used the ATM and hit the grocery store. They had canned tomatoes - yes! I also got a bargain on some partially frozen chicken dogs (the only kind in Samoa, why is that?). Who knows how many times they've been frozen/thawed/refrozen. Also bought a couple of apples. They're $.75 USD but crispy and a great treat. Especially since pineapple and mango season is over so papaya is our primary fruit. And frankly, if I never eat papaya again, I'm ok with that.
After shopping, I was waiting on the "porch" of the store where there are benches for us bus waiters. There are generally at least 10 of us. A man approached me and in a jovial tone said "Good afternoon, Sir!" No problem, since English isn't his first language and he gets points for speaking in English to me at all. He is a cab driver and was looking for a fare. He even offered to give me a discount but I waited for the bus.
When I got on the bus, it was fairly crowded. And instead of turning right toward my village as we left town, we headed left. Hmmm. We drove a couple of miles, pulled into someone's front yard and the "bus boy" dropped something off.
Then we headed back in the right direction. Except we turned off toward town instead of heading to my village. Ok, I'd waited an hour for the bus, what's a few extra minutes?
We drove through town and parked for a few minutes. No one got on. No one got off. Then we headed off again, in the right direction. We stopped back at the store where I'd started so a woman could run in and pick up something she'd forgotten. A few miles down the road we stopped again so she could pick up some cucumbers at a roadside stand. At the largest store next to my village we stopped yet again so the same woman could run in and buy some bread.
Imagine being on a bus that spends an extra 20 minutes first trolling for more passengers (why he made the second trip through town, I discovered) and then stops so you can run a few errands. It was a very full bus on a very hot day. Noone except the sweaty palagi seemed the least bit surprised or perturbed and I kept my mouth shut and a smile on my face.
I got home, did the daily housework and picked up some rubbish around my house which caused quite a stir since that is a child's job. Two of my family's kids came running over to do the job. I felt bad but they always stop picking up rubbish before they get to my house and I was tired of looking at the Styrofoam containers and chip bags that had been blowing around for four days. I probably should have just left them there.
After a shower, I was relaxing on my bed, reading George Carlin. I saw my brother approaching with a man. He sent the man to my door and went on to feed the pigs. I recognized the guy but couldn't remember his name or where we'd met. Unfortunately, too common for me.
Turns out he's a Year 8 teacher from another school who lives in my village. He was at my school for 2 days last year. He was there to tell me he needed me to type his 100 question science test and print it. And could I do it right then. It was 7 p.m. It was the first time I'd sat down, other than on the bus. I hadn't eaten since breakfast.
We negotiated and I typed most of it after dinner and will finish the rest tomorrow morning and give him the printout after school.
Every day is a new adventure.