It was a good day. I got to school early to open the library and turn on the computer so the kids could play with the English games I’ve loaded.
I gave the Friday tests to Year 7 on vocabulary. They learned new adjectives this week. One was ‘obnoxious’. I loved hearing one Year 7 girl tell a boy in her class that he was being obnoxious.
The highlight of the day was the visit from a couple from Taranaki. Yes, the same Taranaki which I visited in May. Small world in the Pacific. Jenny is a retired teacher and her husband, Michael, was a dairy farmer. He also raised sheep for some time. They seemed to enjoy the children and the feeling was returned in spades.
The children have little curiosity about visitors - who the people are or where they come from. New Zealand? Cool, that’s all we need to know. They prefer to show off what they know and can do. They danced, they sang (in English and Samoan), they threw rocks to knock down some tipolo. Ok, that was self-serving because I wanted some tipolo. It’s some kind of hybrid citrus that seems to be a cross between lemons, limes and oranges. It makes great lemonade. I had the boys demonstrate how skillful they are at getting fruit and coconuts by throwing rocks.
Two boys weaved baskets from a palm frond. Jenny and Michael were impressed with their industriousness. Samoan children are competitive and these boys were going full on to see who could make the biggest, best basket first. Brandy won, by a hair.
While we were hanging with Years 7 and 8 in the hall, two boys from Year 8 were helping the Year 7 teacher make the nets for the netball court. They used a machete to hack down a tree, used tape and some kind of plastic to make the hoops and dug holes to mount the posts. They did it quickly and well. Samoans are impressive when they decide they want something done. They can figure things out and make it happen.
At the end of the day there was netball practice. I watched. I don’t understand the fine points but have the idea. The big challenge is making a basket. There’s no backboard so it’s much harder than basketball.
By the time school was over I had a stiff neck. I’m not sure if it was the amount of typing I did today or the way I slept last night, or the heavy bag I carried yesterday or a combination of those things. By the time I got home I couldn’t turn my head to the right or touch my chin to my chest.
I told my sister I’d pay her $20 tala for a 30 minute neck and shoulder massage. She smiled and agreed but in the Samoan way that made me know it would never happen. When my 19 year old brother got home I made him the same offer. He jumped on it. We agreed that I would take a shower, he would do his chores, then we’d do the massage.
When he showed up, he had a young woman with him. She’s a member of the women’s committee and someone I know. I teach her Year 3 daughter. She’d volunteered to massage me.
I sat in the only chair in my house while she stood behind me. My brother gave us his bottle of coconut oil to use. We all chatted as she massaged. My neck is much looser and I feel much better. She didn’t want to take the money but I insisted that it was a gift for her children.
I’m now contemplating reductions in other parts of the budget to accommodate regular massages.
By the way, the word for massage is fofo. Not to be confused with the fofo pronounced with emphasis on a different syllable, which means masturbation. I have to concentrate before I say I want fofo.
After she left I thought I’d take another shower, since I had coconut oil in my hair. But my father was working on the pipes. I had no water. It didn’t matter. I felt better and smelled very coco nutty.