Fa’a Samoa!

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From: “mele mauala” <mmauala@.com
To: recipient list suppressed
Subject: Fa’a Samoa!
Date: Mon, 05 Nov 2001 22:58:24
Talofa!
That’s hello in Samoan. I hope everybody is safe and well, especially
those of you in NY!.
I am officially in Samoa now and have found the only
internet cafe on the island! Yehah! I am staying with my uncle and his
family (total 11 kids! though 4 are at university) in his village Falefa.
It is absoulutely beautiful here. The sun is not too hot and it has rained
in the evenings so eveything is cool at night. The water is so clear and
blue that I am constantly wanting to jump out of my uncle’s car to go for
a swim, which he says is rude considering it could be somebody’s back
yard.
The food here is delicious and though I thought I would loose
weight, I think it might be tougher than I expected since every Samoan
portion looks like a small model of the Swiss Alps!
I live in a Western style home so I don’t sleep on the floor or in a traditional fale (no
windows or walls). I might get a chance to do so tonight and my family
tell me to watch out as the mosquitoes will love me…as long as I don’t
wake up with one of my legs shriveled up I’ll be o.k….
There is a big
Tatau (tattoo) convention happening here in Samoa so all the Taumanga
(tattoo artists) from all over the Pacific are here! Can you beleive my
luck? I nearly fainted with glee! At any rate, today is the official
opening ceremony and the Prime Minister will be there to officiate. I’ll
get to meet all the artists and hopefully get some great photos! Speaking
of which, I don’t know if I’ll get to send any more as it is hard to
organize computers here…as for my phone, it doesn’t work so I’m sorry if
I can’t call you back.
Thanks to all who’ve left messages and my dad is
now my official secretary. If you need to get a message to me urgently my
# here is (685) that’s the country code and my uncle’s # is 60064.
Otherwise contact my dad @ 61 738 188445.
O.k. more about my island experiences! I ate Se’a the first night, which
is the internal parts of a sea cucumber (it pretty much looked and
tasted like eating whale snot and my family thankfully got the message
when I nearly barfed on the table! It is no longer on the menu for me!).
My uncle is the pastor for his village or Faatagaloa, don’t worry about
pronunciation! We pray every morning with hymns before and after, every
night at 6:30 pm, which is surfew time for the entire village, and on
Sundays we go to church at 9am, then 4pm, then have evening prayers, then
have a family prayer before we all go to bed! Whew! Sorry, I haven’t found
God, but I have found that he gets in the way on my napping schedule! My
family knows that I’m not religious, but I enjoy singing the hymns (all in
Samoan). Everybody knows how to harmonize here, it must be genetic, even
the dogs in the village howl in harmony! It is very beautiful to hear and
even more special to be a part of. You guys know how I LOVE TO SING! Just
wait till I come back!
My Samoan is slowly getting better but I am
constantly confusing words or word order, the other day I tried to make a
joke about an itchy butt (scatology crosses every cultural boundary!) and
insted I told my cousin to itch my own butt! That caused so much laughter
that the pig walking by outside squeeled with fright!
Did I mention that
pigs roam freely around here? One even came into Sunday school last night
and was shooed away and hit quite nicely on the bottom with a bible. I
guess the lord truly does work in mysterious ways!
I went to a Fa’alavlave which is an important ceremony where one family
visits another to recognize an important event, in our case the death of
an uncle. We took fine mats and money to give to the family and they
returned the favor by giving us money and a pig (a very special gift
though quite common) as well as some mats. I don’t understand who and why
one gets what they do but it is very important and a big part of Samoan
etiquette.
I also went to Piula cave, which some of you may remeber was
where my “I’m Horny” story occured. No worries this time, and it was just
as beautiful and clear as ever. For those of you who don’t know, it is a
fresh water spring that was made into a pool centuries ago, on the other
side of these big volcanic rocks that are it’s border is the ocean.
Stunning and peaceful, though the water is a bit cold!
Cricket is a very
big game here and on weekends you can see village games. All the players
wear lavalavas (like a sarong) and because there is not the same space
available, you can see some of the outer fielders waiting under trees or
next to houses. For those of you who don’t know about cricket, that would
never be done, so it makes the game more casual and more involved since
your fale can be part of the field!
Fia moe! I’m tired of writing! I wish you all well and send you my love! I
promise to write soon with more stories and news about the Tatau Convention!
Fa Soifua! (bye)
Mele