The last few weeks of school here in Samoa are characterized by song and dance practice. Teaching and exams are over and the students are left to work on what will be the best performance of the year… an event called Prize Giving. Prize Giving is a special day, which honors the top students for every subject in every grade. Three weeks before Prize Giving (this year December 3rd) my school began their preparations. Divided into three teams, each team will compete for the best song, dance, and sasa (traditional chat/song/dance combo). Being the Peace Corps, I was not assigned to a group. Instead, I was asked to work with the year 8 students on their number. I chose Thriller.
After the first few hours of song and dance practice I was more sick of my favourite song and dance nuber that I ever imagined possible. I decided we needed some variety in our daily plans for the last few weeks and the thought struck me: here is my opportunity to do the world map project I have wanted to do since hearing about it! Unfortunately for me (and fortunate for the students of the school), the villages’ past Peace Corps volunteer had beat me to the punch. So, to modify the project, I decided my group would do a map of Samoa, including all the villages and geographical features. The year 8 teacher and his students loved the idea, and soon I was off to town to buy plywood and gather the Peace Corps World Map Kit. I should note, although I may be wrong, that this is a trademarked project of the Peace Corps. Peace Corps volunteers have used the very same map and colour scheme in countless schools and communities around the world. A cool legacy to join. Here is Samoa, we have a world map kit which is two large woven baskets containing four large cans of paint and about 8 smaller ones of the less needed colours. Paint-brushes and a book explaining how to get the map on the wall, board, or fabric of choice is also included. We had to do without the book but managed to get a great image of the country traced in chalk onto our plywood board using the schools new projector (thanks Skyview!)
Day three of the project and the map is almost done…except for the more important part – the country itself! We began the project before realizing that we were out of green paint. So the ocean is painted, the country name is complete, and the Peace Corps logo is done. Now all we need to do is fill in the islands, label the villages, and outline the whole thing once the paint is dry.
The map has proven to be a great break from Thriller practice, but with the delay in the painting, it looks like the next two days will be strictly song and dance once more. Then come Monday, we will complete the map, and the year 8 students will join the world map legacy. I will post pictures of the completed project after prize giving. For now, enjoy the work in progress!