It’s good to be back in the village. I ended up sitting in the back of a crowded bus with a hefty kid on my lap, but it was still nice to come home. One brother greeted me at the road and carried my heaviest bag. I said hello to my baby who screamed (not in a good way) when he saw me.
My brother followed me into my fale and we caught up while I swept up the considerable debris left by the bugs. The place was filled with spiders and spider webs so I sprayed Mortein like crazy and we exited so we didn’t get gassed.
I tried holding the baby again and there was no screaming but he was still annoyed with me. Today, he’s back to his normal cheerful self around me and holds out his arms for me to pick him up. One of our favorite things is for me to say “kisi kisi” (kiss, kiss) and make smooching noises on his neck. He seems to like it since when I stop he sticks his neck out for more.
My dinner last night was a can of spaghetti. I don’t really like canned spaghetti but I had it on hand for emergencies like last night. Since I was gone over the weekend I hadn’t shopped and had no meat or vegetables in the house. I’d bought tortillas and cheese in Apia and planned to combine those with some of my cherished “sent from the USA” green chiles for an awesome dinner. But half way to the wharf I realized I’d left the cheese in the refrigerator at the hotel. Damn. Three kinds, including the very pricy camembert that was on sale because it was due to expire.
Ah well, ate the spaghetti with a tortilla and then slept well in my own bed. I was awakened at 5:15 a.m. by the sound of one brother yelling and his sister answering. He was up early to catch the 6 a.m. ferry to Upolu. At 6:00 a.m. the boys next door were roused after their father yelled at them for ten minutes. They made the umu (oven), laughing, talking and singing the whole time. I finally gave up and got up, even though I could have slept in since school always starts late on the first day of a term.
I took pisupo (canned corned beef) to school for the teachers and volunteered to go home and cook rice to go with it, since there was no teaching going on. I made 8 pounds of rice for 10 teachers. They ate that and three large cans of corned beef. Since cold tinned corn beef straight from the can is one of the few foods I find disgusting I didn’t eat anything, which bothered the teachers briefly, but they got over it.
After school my boss gave me a ride to the Tuisivi store. I was hoping they’d gotten some cheese while I was out of town. No such luck. Just the expensive $8.50 for 12 slices of the crappy individually wrapped stuff that is processed and not actually cheese, in my opinion. They also have huge blocks of cheddar but it, too, is processed and costs over $60.
I waited for the bus to the market and enjoyed a ride with frequent stops. I find it amazing that someone will wait on the bus when it stops and then ask to get off two houses down. I talked to a nice lady who asked where I was going. “To the market.” “Oh. Where did you come from?” “Faga.” “Oh. You are staying at the resort.”
So far, this conversation was in Samoan so I thought it humorous that she took me for a tourist. I explained, still in Samoan, that I am a teacher at the primary school and a Peace Corps Volunteeer. “Oh, you teach at the mission school for 7th Day Adventist. “
Most PCVs are young. Most missionaries, aside from the Mormons, are older. I clearly don’t fit the stereotype. We talked further and she finally accepted that I actually teach at the government school and live with a Samoan family. She was a nice lady.
At the market I’d really hoped to get mangos and avocados which would have gone a long way to make up for no cheese, but it was not to be. Not a single mango and one woman had a few avocadoes which weren’t ripe and were very expensive. I bought one that was almost ripe and since it was marred a bit, she gave me a discount. I also bought a small head of cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions and bananas. Pretty much what I buy every week when mangoes and avocadoes aren’t in season. Pineapple will be in season soon too and I found one but it was $15. The lady knows me and likes me and offered it to me for $10 but it was still too expensive.
I was very excited to see a watermelon. First ones I’ve seen in Savaii. They are locally grown and filled with seeds but it would have been a treat to share with my family. But they were expensive and I pondered taking a full backpack, a purse, an umbrella and a watermelon on the bus. I passed.
On the bus home I met another lady and had an almost identical conversation to the one I had on the way to the market. It was pretty funny. She, too, was very sweet.
I enjoyed checking out the clothes of others on the bus. One guy got on with an Arizona State t-shirt. I started my graduate work there. Another guy got on with a Boston t-shirt. I’ll be there for Christmas. One young guy got on wearing a Santa hat and a large hickey on his neck. Apparently Santa hats are sexy. They are worn here by young guys year round.
I got home and played “kisi kisi” with my baby. I went in to put my groceries away and the phone rang a couple of minutes later. I don’t get cell coverage in the house so I grabbed the phone, shoved my feet into my sandals, which I’d left on my porch and was racing across the yard when I realized something was wrong.
One sandal was full of…liquid. It hadn’t rained. I’d only taken off the shoe (dry) off a couple of minutes before. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to look at my dog and figure out what had happened. The little bugger had peed in my shoe! And I was now wearing it.
Just another day in Peace Corps Samoa.