Monday, June 18, 2012

Full Moon?

I haven’t been outside at night lately.  Is there a full moon?  It seems like it, based on my day today.

The day started at 5:44 a.m. when I heard Lionel Ritchey singing.  Apparently one of my brothers needed to use the facilities and didn’t want to be alone.  I was up for the day.

My school day started with 26 children being beaten by two male teachers.  They were being punished for not coming to school last week.  Most of last week was spent having the children landscape and clean.  I did not witness the beatings but was in assembly when the perps were pulled aside and told to stay behind so they could be hit.  Two of the boys in Year 7 came into class holding what would soon be bruises and crying.   Not a great way to start off our first class together since the break started five weeks ago.

In that class I noticed that the kids were different.  The Year 7 class has 42 students so was divided into two classes.  Initially the division was based on alphabetical order.  I talked to the two Year 7 teachers I work with and we agreed it would be good to divide the classes by ability, instead.  It worked great last term.  One group of 21 was advanced and doing the same work in English as Year 8.  The other group was slower and doing the same work as Year 3.

Today, they’d been switched back.  I asked my boss why, wondering why we were doing things the hard way, which is a disservice to both the advanced and slower kids.  I didn’t tell him that, I just asked why.  It seems that because the classes were originally divided alphabetically and that’s what’s been handwritten in ink in the formal roll call book, they must stay that way.  It makes zero sense to me and I’m hoping we can still change it.  All three of us involved in teaching those two classes are in agreement it worked much better the other way.

After school, I realized the kid who is in charge of locking the Year 8 room had locked it with my purse inside.  The key to my house was in my purse.  The kid had gone home.  I asked some of the teachers about it and they were not particularly concerned because they were trying to figure out who had and hadn’t signed out in the sign in book.  It has come to our attention that we have been lax in signing in and out and must be more diligent.  We will have to pay a $1 fine if we do not do it both morning and afternoon.  I admit, I always signed out the following morning, since I have the key to the room where the book is kept and no one saw it before I’d signed out.  That is no longer allowed.

Anyway, people were in such a tizzy about the sign in book they didn’t seem to grasp the problem I had if I couldn’t get my key.  Until I started yelling and threatened to sleep at another teacher’s house, which got their attention.  The one person who had a ride picking her up had the driver take her up the road to the kid’s house and they brought back both the kid and the key.  Life was good again.  And, everyone signed out but I’m not happy with the new routine because it means I have to wait for every teacher to wander upstairs (and they don’t like to climb stairs) to sign out so that I can lock the room.  It is my job.  I plan to tell them tomorrow that when the last bell is rung they have five minutes and then I’m locking the room.  They should sign out first, then grade papers or whatever.

While all of this was going on, I was trying to give away a plastic container of leftover spaghetti.  I’d brought it for tea, but because two teachers had returned from maternity/sick leave they brought snacks.  Butter and cracker sandwiches, masa Sieni, which is thick, dry crackers made with a layer of soy sauce in the middle (sounds yummy doesn’t it?) and donuts.  I considered it a meal but knew that Samoans were on their way home for lunch.

There was no interest in my palagi spaghetti.  I’m guessing they have never seen anything but canned spaghetti.  What I had wasn’t my best, a bit sweet because of the Kiwi tomato sauce, but was decent.  The palagis ate it happily Saturday night.  Even the kids turned up their noses and they’re kind of like junk yard dogs and will eat anything.  I took it home and gave it to my brother.  I told him if he didn’t like it he could feed it to the pigs.  Later I asked if he liked it.  “Well, I ate it because I knew it was healthy but I didn’t really like it.  I let my brothers and sisters taste it and they didn’t like it.  They said it was too bland.”

Really?  Bland????  It had beaucoup spices.  Garlic.  Onions.  It was a savory sensation.  Bland????  Not salty enough or sweet enough, according to my brother.  This assessment from a family who happily devours plain, boiled bananas.  Talk about bland.

After the spaghetti fiasco, my brother explained he was very tired of babysitting.  “I couldn’t sleep all day!” he complained.  “Really?  Me either and I’m 44 years older than you.”

He then went on to explain that we had no power but he was hopeful it would be on again soon.  This has happened a few times recently because the family forgets to buy Cash Power.  You have to buy credit in advance for electricity.  When the credit runs out, so does your power.  If it happens on a Saturday afternoon you will have no power until places open on Monday morning.  Swell system.

The power came on a few hours later, just after most of the meat in my freezer thawed.  That’s ok, though, because I didn’t have a lot.  Since the same thing happened recently, I haven’t had time to restock.  Yes, I’ll be eating the frozen, thawed, frozen meat.  I can’t afford to keep throwing meat out and buying more.

I’d forgotten to buy toilet paper at my last trip to the store so headed to Tuisivi.  One of my kids was on the bus, on his way to sell Koko Samoa outside the store.  I bought some from him to take to the teachers.  That made him very happy.

I went across the street from the store where one group of women sells fish and another group sells ufi (like a giant taro) cooked in coconut cream and a few vegetables.  I bought alili from the fish ladies.  It’s a tasty shellfish and I figured I’d either have it for dinner or give it to my family if they wanted it.  They did.

I bought my t.p. and a few other items and waited about 30 minutes for a bus.  When I got home I dumped my groceries then talked to a friend in the States for an hour.  For only $5 USD.  Way to go Blue Sky!  Afterwards I stopped to chat with my host mom, who was holding Julius, my 7 month old crush.  While we were talking I noticed two roosters fighting.

Have you ever seen a cock fight, up close and personal?  It is not a pretty thing.  They were trying to kill each other.  I saw every bloody detail because, inexplicably, one of the roosters ran for me and was standing under my skirt as the fight continued.  I never believed I’d have a reason to say “I have two cocks under my skirt.”  But, I did.  My mother called one of the boys over, who grabbed the younger rooster by the neck.  She said “Kill him.  We’ll have him for dinner.”

The other rooster is Koki.  He was raised by hand by the family.  He’s over 13 years old now.  He slept on their pillows with them and ate from their plates as a chick.  He’s not afraid of people and now that he’s a senior citizen, he runs to people for protection when attacked by a younger rooster.  That explains him taking refuge under my skirt.  The younger rooster became dinner because he did not show Koki the respect he deserved, as an elder.  They consider Koki a poultry Matai.

I’m checking the moon tonight.  I bet it’s full.

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