Saturday, April 28, 2012

Another Day

Tuesday started like Monday.  I was the first one at school and no one arrived for another twenty minutes.  Eventually, we had 7 teachers.  I normally teach two Year 7 classes before interval but the kids were off for teachers’ meetings.  One teacher suggested I take her class but I pretended I didn’t understand what she was asking and just went upstairs to work on a Peace Corps report.

I felt horrible about my best teacher friend.  She’d been absent the day before and should have stayed home today.  She clearly has a massive infection.  She’s been to the hospital and gotten antibiotics but her glands are so swollen you can see them, her eyes are swollen almost shut and she has a horrible cough.  I took her class for half of the day and took the Years 2 and 3 classes for the remainder of the time.

After school, I walked the half mile back to the resort to get my change.  They seemed surprised to see me and didn’t have any change.  After 20 minutes, we worked it out.  By then it was raining but I walked across the street to catch the bus to Salelologa to run some errands. Two minutes later a friend stopped in her van to offer me a ride.  My sick teacher friend was already on board.  What a treat to have a ride with friends instead of being crammed on the bus.

I used the ATM, did some grocery shopping then took a taxi to the post office.   I also stopped off at Samoa Tel to discuss my bill.  I have a landline that I use for the internet.  Although I’d paid my bill I receive a taped message each time I log in that my bill is overdue and that they were going to disconnect my phone.  The woman made several phone calls and told me that “the boys” would be told to remove the message since, yes, my bill was paid.

While I was waiting in the air conditioned comfort of the Samoa Tel office (very few offices in Savaii are air conditioned) I noticed a white chicken pecking at the door.  The chicken seemed determined to get in.  I believe the chicken could tell we had air conditioning and was jealous.  Whatever, she stood in the crack in the doorway where the cool air flowed out for the entire time I was there.

I had no mail at the post office but I stopped next door and bought some fried chicken for dinner.  I walked across the street with my bags to wait for the bus.  My sick friend and her daughter joined me after finishing their errands and we chatted for a couple of minutes as we waited.  Then the friend with the van rolled up and offered us a ride – again.  What a treat.  We stopped for gas and I was happy to contribute, although she was reluctant to take the money.  She gives me a ride every time she sees me on the road and I so appreciate it.

We chatted as we drove toward home.  We passed a college (high school) girl arriving home and greeting her young brother.  You’d think they hadn’t seen each other in months.  Lots of laughing and talking and ruffling of hair.  Very sweet and very typical.  It doesn’t matter if siblings have 10 -15 years age difference.  They are very close.

Next we passed a funeral that we’d passed earlier.  It was for one of the most famous pastors in Samoa.  He was 82 and highly revered.  I’ve never seen so many people/cars in one place on the island.  There were dozens of huge artificial flower arrangements.  Hundreds of people.  Knowing what is expected of the family when someone dies I was doing some mental calculations.  I’m guessing the cost to the family was in the tens of thousands.

I came home to enjoy my chicken.  I also got a “fix” of Julius, my five month old uo.  He was screaming because it was time for dinner but when he heard my voice, stopped and started laughing.  He looked at me, ducked his head, smiling in shyness then remembered he was hungry and started screaming again.

Another day at home in Samoa.

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