Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm a Lo'omatua, Beware!

I left school early today to go to Salelologa.  Long story but I needed to get my phone fixed.  It’s fine now.  On the way home I decided to ride past my house and take the scenic tour to Puapua.  The bus wasn’t crowded and at one point it was funny because it was me, five palagis, the supakoka and the bus driver.  The supakoka (bus helper guy) asked where we were going.  The other palagis explained, in English, that they were going to the beach fales in Lano.  I explained, in Samoan, that I was going back to Sapini. 

He understood them.  Me, he had trouble with.  He was expecting English and got Samoan.  He asked me to repeat it.  Then to repeat it again.  There are some things that I really do know how to say correctly in Samoan and this was one of them.  His brain just couldn’t fathom that he was on a bus of only palagis and one of them was speaking Samoan.  He got it and then laughed.  I pointed out that it was a palagi pasi (foreigner bus) and he laughed again.

After we dropped off the tourists going to the beach fales, we turned around and headed back to my village.  Then we stopped.  In the road.  For 15 minutes.  I didn’t know why.  I didn’t really care.  I had a nice view of the lagoon and there was a lovely breeze.  I was a happy dog (one who has no control over events but happily accepts them as they come).  Then it occurred to me we were waiting for the kids at the college.

But as we started up and headed toward the groups of kids near the college, he blasted past.  We passed a family waiting by the road.  The driver had picked up a few guys heading to play rugby and they raced to the front of the bus, asking why he wasn’t stopping.  I was wondering if I’d gotten on a “special” bus, which means that sometimes groups charter buses.  Crap, were we going back to my village?

Then the driver stopped.  A young man came to the bus and started screaming at the driver.  Clearly beyond pissed.  “You left my mother and brothers!  You are a bad man!”  was the essence of the message.  The bus driver backed up and two women, children and their luggage was brought on board.  Then we headed off again.  Only to turn off the road.

Now what?  He was turning around.  This time, we passed groups of students heading the other direction.  Then we turned around again and stopped to pick up the students we’d passed before.  I have no idea why.

There were a lot of kids.  When they got on, the bus was almost empty.  Just me, two women and two children and a few rugby players.  The kids slowly got on.  But they weren’t moving quickly and they weren’t jamming into the back of the bus, which is required to get everyone on.

Unfortunately for my three siblings who go to that college, they had to get on the bus with me.  I suggested my sister sit next to me.  Kids loaded her with their backpacks, to help with space issues.  I gave her my bags as a joke, then took them back, which got a laugh from the kids watching.

But I turned into a lo’omatua (old lady) and faiaoga (teacher).  I started telling the kids in the aisle to move, quickly, toward the back.  There were boys hanging outside the bus because the kids inside didn’t want to cram together.  Too bad.  Move it!  Move it!  I took charge, in Samoan. 

One girl gave me the look of disdain that only a teenage girl can manage.  I gave her my teacher look and told her in Samoan.  “I’m a teacher.  You are being cheeky.  Stop it.”  She did.  My sister probably wished she could be anywhere else.

I told my siblings that I looked forward to riding the bus with them every day.  I am evil.

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