The plantation was the morning part of my day, my afternoon was spent at Andrew's father birthday party. This was our first truly Samoan birthday party (since Tara's was more to make her feel better, but Andrews father was turning 50 and Samoans celebrate that birthday) and it was a great experience. As usual, all the trainees were there and it gave us a chance to find out what the others did during the day. The party was suppose to start at noon, which in island time meant 1pm – but guess what time most of the trainees showed up. There was plenty of food and music – so a good time was definitely had by all. Andrews Samoan sisters performed a traditional Samoan dance for us – a first (the one at our FiaFia was done by volunteers). Later, we got to see Andrew dance with some of his Samoan brothers in another Samoan dance. All the trainees danced at some point (including myself – I know its shocking) so once again this was an experience that someone who wasn't part of the culture would not experience. Who knows, odds are good we may have a few birthday (aso fanau) parties during our 3 weeks stay.
The last part of my day was filled playing with Satuala and Isaia. I watched Jackie Chan Adventures and Courage the cowardly dog with them in the afternoon (glad to see we're only exporting our best cartoons) and then went out to play with the boomerang I gave to Isaia. While throwing it around, I accidentally got it stuck in the top limbs of a mango tree. So its stuck there, right? I thought so but I thought wrong. Without even thinking about it Isaia started climbing the 25 foot tall tree to retrieve the toy boomerang. My heart was definitely pounding because he's only a kid – but he had no fear. Fortunately, I stopped him from going out on the limb to get the toy (he broke off another limb to knock it free) but it was still scary for me (even everyone around me seemed to see it as normal).
So in all this was a day of experiencing the Samoan culture instead of just hearing about it or being around It for only a few hours a day. This was a day that justified my PC training and future experience – to adjust (but not assimilate into) the Samoan culture. While I will always be an American – I gained a much deeper respect and appreciation for the Samoan people and way of life today. I saw views that a majority of tourist will never see on a visit to Samoa – even though I already stated that, its worth repeating and the views I saw are simply amazing to simple kid like myself. ;) L8r.