Malo lava! It’s been a while, and I apologize for the lack of blogs this month. You would think that I would eventually run out of things to do and see on this island, and sometimes even I think that, but really, that’s not true at all. If you’re creative and willing to do anything, American Samoa can entertain you in so many ways.
Since my last post, I have been crazy busy and I haven’t even really gone to school! This past Tuesday was Flag Day in American Samoa. Up until Monday, I had no idea what that even meant. Oops. Turns out that Flag Day celebrates the day that the United States flag was first raised on the island. In other words, it is a perfect reason to not go to school, right? The Governor made Tuesday AND Wednesday national (island?!) holidays so I only had 3 days of school this week.
The festivities started last Friday with the Marist Pago 7’s rugby tournament. Rugby is very popular in the Pacific. The New Zealand All Blacks won the 2011 Rugby World Cup (woot!). Rugby is the game to play in Western Samoa and wheeeeewie are they good at it. Manu Samoa is their team and it was pretty exciting to be here during the World Cup to see and hear all the support for the team. ALU LE MANU SAMOA! GO THE MANU! Anyways, last Friday and Saturday, the tournament was held at our stadium. Teams from Western, Tonga, Fiji, and AmSam played. Players from Manu Samoa were here and played with their village teams. The captain of the ALL BLACKS was here! It was a very exciting couple of days. I spent most of my Saturday at the tournament – watching rugby, of course (not checking out the rugby men…hehe.) In a 7’s tournament, each team has 7 players and they play 7 minute halves. It’s very quick because the clock never stops (unlike football which takes FOREEEEEEVER). A team from Western won the overal tournament.
Mountains, sun, rugby, rugby men. Sweet.
Before going to the rugby tournament, some friends and I spent Saturday morning in “town.” When I say “town,” I am in no means saying that I was in an actual town. Towns do not exist here. To me, town is where I go if I want to eat ice cream or sit by the Pago Pago harbor. Not a town at all. It’s a little busier, sure, and it has some bigger buildings, but it isn’t an actual town like you would find in the States. A restaurant opened there several months ago that we recently discovered and it’s like a normal restaurant in the States (kind of.) It’s called DDW, aka Don’t Drink the Water. Clever because you really can’t drink the water! We had breakfast – homemade banana pancakes. I ordered the full stack which came with 4 pancakes. I, being the American that I am, thought that these would be normal sized pancakes. PFF. I forget that I’m in Samoa until food is placed in front of me. The pancakes were the size of my flipping head! I did my best but only got through about half of them. As we finished up our meal, the first fautasi race was finishing behind us – very exciting!
What is a fautasi, you ask? A boat! Long ago, when Polynesians first came to Samoa, they arrived by boat – the fautasi. In Saturday’s race, teams from AmSam raced from one part of the island to finish in the Pago harbor. The race took a total of 20ish minutes. Super fast. The boat from Nu’uuli won. Cool. After they finished, they rowed their boat to the beach right in front of our restaurant and it was really cool hearing their fans cheer for them. I am also quite proud of this picture I took. AmSam is really this pretty. The finals race took place later on in the week and the Pago team ended up winning it. Here’s an interesting fact. One of the teams from the east side paid $800,000 for their boat. WHAT THE. Where their village managed to get that much money, I have no idea! Holy freakin’ smokes.
The Nu'uuli boat after their big win
The Nu'uuli crew welcoming in their boat
We had school on Monday and barely anyone came. We got out early. The same thing happened on Thursday and Friday. They should have just canceled the entire week of school! Although I must say that I had a really fun day on Friday. In my fifth period, I played games with a few of my students and we had such a great time. So much laughing and so much making fun of the teacher. I just love them SO DARN MUCH! If only it were possible to bring them all home with me!
Other activities went on for Flag Day: volleyball and basketball games and tournaments, a parade, performances, and the swearing in of people for the Army and Marine Corps. I can’t remember how many, but maybe 8 or 9 Leone High School students were sworn in. I believe there were 39 total from the island. I read in the news that 15 of them will serve here, while the rest will go into active duty. Such a large population of this island joins the military, which is something I don’t think a lot of people in the States realize.
Amongst all my time off, I made sure to squeeze in a pina colada by the water – pretty soon I’ll be home and fresh coconut and pineapple juice won’t be as easy to access!
Don't be jealous. You have real milk!