Monday, April 30, 2012

May Day in Samoa

May, 2012.  Hard to believe it.  I’ve been here for almost 19 months.  I’m leaving in less than two weeks for vacation in New Zealand.  Time is both flying and dragging simultaneously.  I’m not sure how that can be.

By 8:00 a.m. on this beautiful, sunny, sweltering day in May I had checked and responded to email, done a bucket of laundry and hung it out to dry, had a cup of coffee and a few gingersnaps, walked to school, spent an hour with a bunch of kids and copied stuff for a teacher from another school.  Isn’t it swell that my expertise with a copy machine is spreading across the island?

Then I left.  Not forever, just to finally go and buy the locks for my still open-to-the-village house.  Several teachers asked me what food I was bringing back for them.  If I was on my way to have my brain removed they’d ask if I could bring food back from the hospital.  I told them that I’d bring back whatever food I could find at the hardware store.

But I’m a sport and needed to hit the market for some vegetables anyway.  Plus, other than copying for other teachers and finishing grading the English exams I administered yesterday, I have nothing to do at school.  So I took the bus all the way to the market.  That caused a stir.  Several parents of my kids sell produce at the market and they were surprised to see me in uniform but not at school.  I explained about the broken locks and got a lot of sympathy.  I also got 10 free oranges as a gift from one parent.

While I was waiting for the bus to take me to the hardware store, I strolled over to the fish market to see what was on display.  I have a friend that is totally disgusted by fish markets but I find them fascinating.  Lots of eels and octopi today along with the normal reef fish and some fresh tuna.  One guy kept offering me different fish and I kept saying no thank you.  His fishing partner/relative finally laughed and said “She never buys anything.  She just likes to look.”  He seemed ok with that.  He also seemed to enjoy having the still alive slipper lobster “ride” an eel.   I watched and laughed.  We make our own fun here in Samoa.

I grabbed the locks at the hardware store ($55 USD for two deadbolt locks, no door handles included) then headed next door to Uncle Bill’s, the fast food joint.  I realized I’d bought popcorn and German buns for the teachers but nothing for my family.  I bought them two chicken dinners and a mango smoothie for myself.  I’m now addicted to anything slushy.

You may be wondering why I bought a gift to take home along with the locks.  It’s known as an oso.  It’s not really a gift, but I went to town so they get something.  Now, my mother and brother go to town everyday to work and they’ve never brought me anything, but I’m the one who needs new locks installed.  If $20 worth of fried chicken and French fries can make that happen sometime before I leave for New Zealand, I’ll be a happy woman.

The family seemed happy for the chicken and I was told they might do the locks tonight.  I’m hoping before dark because it will make it much easier that way.  

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