lost in thought
Apia Travel Blog› entry 21 of 54 › view all entries
September 24th, 2005 – by: hudonnoodles
I spent my week in the rural village. I HAVE to show you the pictures of the house I stayed at. The ocean was a one minute walk away and I slept on a big king size bed with a bright pink mosquito net with the sound of the ocean putting me to sleep. Okay okay. That sounds ideal, right? Let me tell you the rest of the factors that were involved. (I'm not complaining in this next section, I'm just telling you how it was) My family lived on a plot of land with 4 other families. All related on my father's side. My family had two fales. One falle was compeltely open with pillars.
Our plot of land also had an outdoor kitchen under a thatched fale. The kitchen consisted of a large wooden shelf that you could sit on to do your cutting and preparation work, a open fire and a square of rocks that can be heated with coconut shells to do your oven work. (I cooked breakfast one morning too - on the open fire) For basic needs we had an outdoor non-flush toilet.
One would think that you would hear the sound of the waves on the beach that was only a one minute walk away. But roosters are confused here in Samoa. Roosters, chickens, pigs, dogs and horses walk freely around the rural areas. With the animals comes along animal sounds. If the animals were silent for even a moment the geckos on all the ceilings would make noise. All of these sounds became a comfort by the end of the week.
All of these supposed "discomforts" were made up by the incredibly hospitality and love from my family. I had a sister that was my age and there were 2 babies in the house. The 12 year old twins were a great amusement and all of their 12 year old friends who came over at night were also a great amusement. As a white female I get A LOT of attention here. I am constantly being told that I am beautiful...it really is a confidence boost.
I dont really know how to describe actual village life. It is really in the 'now.' The men work on the taro plantation during the day. You buy whatever food you need for your meal right before you cook it...or you go pick it. If you need money, you bring taro to Apia to sell in the market. Nothing is really planned. It all just happens and it all just fits into place. I spent a day on the taro plantation and they called me a "good palagi" because I actually helped. After walking the mile and a half up to the plantation (on a muddy and rocky road/ brush/quasi path) they set down some coconut leaves and gave me some fans so I could remain comfortable. I would not have it. I got up immediately and asked them what they needed me to do. That afternoon they needed to clear brush and since they only had 3 machetes I could not help with that but they set me to work with a banana tree trunk. In order to squeeze the coconut juice out of the pulp you need to peel the stringsey bark from the trunk of the banana tree. So that is what I did for the first 2 hours. After that they needed to collect and clean off taro for that evenings meal. So i got to work and helped to prepare taro. They were suprised with my readiness to get my hands dirty.
It really was an incredible feeling to work on the family plantation. This plantation had been in the family for generations and was one of the largest in the village. The family had a lot of pride for it. The produced their subsistence with their own hands. And the view was absolutely gorgeous.
That is all I can write about for now because my minutes are ticking away at the internet cafe. I leave you with my list of new activities...
This past week I was honored in a siva siva, I was fitted by a tailor for a pulitasi, I was layed every morning before class, I taught a level 4 class at the local primary school , I was known on a first name basis throughout the village by all the children, I saw at least one rainbow a day AND DRUM ROLL PLEASE I climbed down a 50-foot rope ladder to swim in a cave.
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