Monday, June 11, 2012

How About You?

You know how some days stuff happens that you just don’t expect?  You experience or see things out of the ordinary?  Perhaps, living in a developing country in the tropics, I have that happen more than when I lived in Florida, but I bet you can relate.  Here are mine for today.  I’d love to hear yours.

I swallowed a spider.  It was small, dead (I think) and I didn’t mean to but didn’t see it until I was glugging down the water from my bottle.  How did it get there?  Could have been from the water filter, which has a top that doesn’t seal (thanks, Peace Corps!) or it could have crawled into my water bottle between when I rinsed it and when I turned around five seconds later to fill it.  Hard to say.

Speaking of spiders, I started a dog fight in front of my fale tonight.  It was close to dinner time and I spied an almost dead, very large spider in my kitchen.  I used a brush to scoop him into the dust pan and threw him outside.  I realized too late that four of our dogs (we have seven) were waiting for scraps outside my house.  “My” dog, let the others know it was his food.  Boy, was he disappointed.  There was biting, growling and barking over a spider that nobody but the chickens wanted.

I talked to a two year old holding two machete blades.  I love the kids next door.  They yell every time they see me.   They make sure I am never lonely, especially when I’m on an international phone call (sorry, John.) and one of the boys is a reincarnated monkey who loves to climb, showoff and scares me to death.  But it was his little brother, Richard, who scared the bejeebers out of me today. 

Richard (likely named after a previous PCV) is two.  He’s shy, handsome and adores me.  The feeling is returned.  Today, he was holding just the blades of two old machetes.  They had no handles.  They were rusty, but sharp enough to cause some damage.  Where did he get them?  Why was no one else concerned?  I don’t know.  I suggested to his sister that she take them away but she said he liked them.  I bet he’s never had a tetanus shot.  I convinced him to put them down by promising to buy he and his siblings candy at my faleoloa.  Small price to pay.  I have to keep remembering that knives, fire and other things we consider huge dangers are part of a child’s life here.

We got up to top speed on the bus for a few seconds today.  I was looking out the window.  I felt my hair, blowing in the wind.  Then I felt my face, flapping in the breeze.  Is it a sign you need a face lift when a breeze makes you eyelids flap?  And jowls?  Holy cow.  

I posted earlier about my wannabe bus driver boyfriend.  While we were flirting, he tried to run another bus off the road, into the lagoon.  That sounds harsh but was actually just as funny as his attempts to woo me and we all had a good chuckle over it.

He’d stopped to drop someone off.  He saw a bus coming the other way.  It had just turned around so had no passengers.  Just the driver and a couple of helpers.  My guy pulled into the oncoming lane, blocking the other bus’ passage.  The other driver pulled slightly off the road to let us by.  But my guy kept nudging him over, off the road and toward the sea.  Don’t get me wrong.  This wasn’t some high speed, James Bondesque kind of thing.  Two Samoan buses, both moving slowly.  It was more like a ballet.

My guy started yelling and motioning to the other driver, telling him to get off the road and drive into the sea.  The other driver started yelling back, laughing.  Our bus continued on, driving on the wrong side of the road.  Passengers laughing, driver looking back at me to suggest we do something inappropriate.  The other bus was off the road and the guys on it were laughing and waving.

This one, unfortunately, is not at all unusual but really pisses me off.  It starts every afternoon and continues until I go to bed.  I am attacked and bitten by bugs.  Tiny bugs, usually, which leave welts on my skin.  Mosquitoes, fleas, gnats and unnameable flying and crawling things that bug (pun) the crap out of me.  This evening was particularly bad.  I have several dozen welts on my arms, legs, feet, hands and face.  They’ll be almost gone by tomorrow but will itch and be annoying all night.  Mosquito net you ask?  Unless I could cook, shower, toilet, relax and sleep in it, a mosquito net isn’t all that helpful.  These suckers do not restrict themselves to nighttime hours.  Bug repellant?  Yes, that’s an option, but do I really want to wipe some killer chemical on my skin every day?  

Which brings me to another thought.  Be careful what you dream of.  I dreamed of life on an island in the South Pacific, living with and like the locals.  I got it.  I love most of it.  But the bugs?  Not so much.  At least it’s not snakes.  

While typing this, a lizard fell on my head.  It was not an athletic gecko.  Damn those black lizards.  At least it didn’t fall on my face while I was sleeping.


  1. I wonder if our kids are more klutzy and tend to get hurt more, or, if Samoan kids are just more savvy about how to protect themselves? I just can't imagine any 2 year old, no matter what culture, being safe around machetes. They usually have tons of mobility, and not a thought in their head as to what is safe or not at that age. Is there a lot of kids missing arms and legs, or eyes there? (one would think there would be!)

  2. Kids are given much more responsibility at a much younger age here. I haven't seen missing limbs, etc., but have seen a number of minor injuries. My brother had his leg badly cut, for example, when another kid accidentally whacked him when they were cutting the school lawn with machetes.