Since prize giving was last week, this week not much is going on at school. The students do not come to school and the teacher’s show up an hour or two late, just to watch movies and gossip. If this was unique to my school I would be utterly embarrassed to post this in my blog, but as it turns out, this is protocol for all of Samoa. I could get into my personal feelings on the subject, but instead, I will write about how I spent my fourth to last day of the school year.
I woke up late, around 7am and was unpleasantly surprised by my refrigerator, which had gone on defrost mode at some point last night and flooded my floor with water. Yuck. I put on some water for coffee, reset the fridge, and dealt with the mess. After coffee I biked up to school with my computer to put in some face time and make an exercise CD for one of the other teachers. Arriving at 8:15, I was the second teacher to come; a big change from the normal school year.
I made the CD and then at 9am said bye to the teachers. They looked at me like I was a terrible person for leaving school early, but then I explained that I had been invited to cook food for the construction workers at the church – a task that has been rotating amongst the women. I was very honored to be asked, and with a great deal of pride I walked down the dirt road towards the construction site. Upon arrival, the women who were already there were scurrying around to get the food ready before 10. I asked how I could help and they looked at me, paused, and then laughed. The Faletua (preachers wife) told me that before I help, I should go eat some morning breakfast with her children, so inside the house I went. I was served a plate of egg sandwiches, an apple, an orange, and some koko samoa. Once finished, I tried to get to work, but I was instructed to watch TV and told that I should never cook for the church since I am a guest of theirs. So much for feeling included!
After hanging out for a few hours, I returned to my fale (house) to work on a new exercise routine. I was attacked by a pack of dogs on the short walk back to my house and luckily I had my umbrella and was able to take a few good swings at them, but I didn’t hit any and they were not letting up. Luckily one of my year 6 students came to my rescue and neither of us were bitten. I hate walking down that road! At 3pm Vern came over to learn the dance I had created. Using GarageBand for the first time, I figured out how to mash up “Hey Soul Sister” with “Little Drummer Boy” and I am really excited about the resulting song! We practiced a few times and then around 4pm we went over to the fale komiti to teach the women.
When I signed up for Peace Corps I never dreamed I would be leading a weekly aerobics class. Now I am leading two classes a day for two different groups of women, and unfortunately for me, each group will be competing on Monday in different competitions: my original group is going to Apia for the end of the Samoa Challenge II (check out our article in The Samoa Observer, titled “Style Meets Fitness,”) and the other group will be competing for best jazzercise routine in Savaii. I will travel with the Apia group and we will be dancing at the awards ceremony. Whether or not we win the overall competition, my women have worked extremely hard and have all benefited in some way or other from this program, so in a way, we are all winners. But deep down, I want the satisfaction of knowing that my women won the Samoa Challenge 2010. Bring on the results!