Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Rainy Saturday

Written Saturday, March 3, 2012
Two other volunteers were coming over today but I had to postpone.  Seems the pig I ate at school yesterday didn’t agree with me.  Or something else I ate.  The pig tasted the best I’ve had in Samoa.  It was cooked all the way through.  It was great right up until I started to put the piece in my mouth with all the bristles on it.  And until about 2:00 a.m. when it let me know it preferred not to be inside me anymore.

Rainy today.  I love rainy Saturdays.  Growling guts and rain give me an excuse to just lounge around the house.  It’s warm but not hot.  I hear the ocean.  The bathroom is nearby.  What more could I ask for?

I washed clothes today, as I do most days.   It’s getting a second rinse in the rain right now.  It may dry.  It may not.  At least it’s out of the laundry basket.  Which, by the way, has been one of the best, most surprising things I’ve gotten in a care package.  My friend, Sister Mary Margaret, said she got it in a dollar store.  It’s collapsible, made of mesh and some kind of firm stuff for the sides and is wonderful.  If you know a Peace Corps, send them one!

Have I told you that the same week that Mr. Kindle died my headlamp also died?  Like couples who’ve been married 55 years they couldn’t bear to be apart.  I’ve been using my mini Mag lite, which works but is not nearly as good as my headlamp.  The death of the headlamp was caused by a broken hinge on the flap that holds in the batteries.  Design flaw, I think.

I’m reading a George Carlin book called “Napalm and Silly Putty”.  I love George Carlin.  I share his views on Americans and their children – he says we’ve gone too far in making kids the center of our world.  Amen.  I remember the olden days when my brother and I were trotted out to meet guests, then quietly disappeared to our rooms for the remainder of the evening.  We liked it that way.  I hate it when I visit people with young children and they are the center of attention for the whole evening.  I love kids but what happened to adult time?  Or how about the time a friend had to lock herself in the bathroom to talk to me on the phone because her 5 year old wouldn’t leave her alone?  Wrong.  Discipline is not bad.  Beatings are bad.  Discipline is good. 

There’s a funeral going on two houses down.  I didn’t go to pay my respects because that would have required them to give me cash, cases of tinned meat and a fine mat worth about $500 tala.  They had a brief church service.  Most of the rest of the time is spent giving out food, etc. and paying respects. 
It is 9:25 a.m.  I have 7 flies crawling on me.  I keep fanning them off.  They come back.  I like breadfruit, but breadfruit season, which lasts for a couple of months, brings flies.  Where are they the rest  of the year?

I have another boil on my leg.  That brings the count to four.  They leave scars that are ½ to 1 inch in diameter.  I’m beginning to look like a giant connect the dots puzzle.

Does Peace Corps make a difference?  Does it matter if a few people around the world have wonderful memories of Americans who lived with them and did their best to help them?  Could it stop a war from starting?  If you think there’s even a possibility of that, please contact your Congressman or Senator.  Peace Corps is not a high priority when it comes to the budget.

I love Julius.  He’s the 3 month old who is part of my family.  He laughs when he sees me.  He reaches for me.  Samoa has a very young population.  There are babies everywhere in Samoa and people are willing to hand them to strangers.  I love the looks on their faces as they stare at me.  For many, I’m the first white person they’ve seen. 

I went to check mail yesterday.  Thanks for the post card, Jens!  The bus ride home was one of the worst I’ve had in Savaii.  It took over an hour and the bus was ridiculously full.  It was very, very hot and even the air from the windows couldn’t penetrate the center of the bus where I was.  When I got home I stood under a cold shower for five minutes.  It was sublime.

The LDS church in our village brought us more new desks and chairs yesterday.  Very generous of them.  In return, members of the school committee and the male members of the staff had an ava ceremony for them as a thank you.  The female teachers, other than me, spent the day in the kitchen, gossiping and laying out the food the school committee brought.  I was the only teacher in a classroom. 

We start another round of teachers’ meetings next week.  Three days a week for three weeks.  We don’t need furniture or technology as much as we need teachers to actually be teaching.

Two pigs are just outside my window eating the rotting breadfruit that fell in the night.  God bless the pigs.  Fewer breadfruit, fewer flies.  Plus, if you’ve ever seen a sow with breadfruit spread all over her snout, it’s pretty funny.

Yesterday I watched my 13 year old brother head to the plantation to get some taro.  He was carrying a shotgun and a machete.  Imagine seeing that in your neighborhood.

My father, who is a very fit 52, is walking around wearing nothing but a towel this morning.  With about 100 people nearby for the funeral. 

Very loud hip hop music doesn’t play as frequently at my house since the 24 year old brother moved to Apia.  I miss him.  I don’t miss his music.

There’s a cow making a lot of noise nearby.  I think he realizes he’s going to be hacked up and given out to guests at the funeral.  Part of fa’alavelave.  Cattle are not raised for milk or meat here.  Just for fa’alavelave.

The wheezing pig is back.  She’s one of the ones eating breadfruit.  I think she may have asthma.

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