MJ Live

Monday, December 12, 2005

Any Given Sunday (Written 11/20/05)

Today was our first lotu (prayer) service back in the village and let me tell you – if you think you've been to a hot church you haven't felt anything like a Samoan village falesa (church). Not only was it hot today there was zero breeze and a heck of a lot of humidity – not a good combination for sitting in a church with no ceiling fans. After we got out of the falesa sauna we all went home for two Sunday traditions in Samoa: To'ona'i and Malolo. To'ona'i is like the Sunday brunch people in the states go to after church (always thought that was a southern thing , obviously it's not) except this meal has a Samoan slant. So for to'ona'i I had taro with palusami (the only way to eat taro), spaghetti, chop suey, eggs and toast – so definitely a full meal. After I got done with mea'ai (meal) [leaving enough for my brothers to eat after me], then it was time for malolo which means "rest" in Samoan. It's a time where you get to sleep for the majority of the day. Samoans take their rest very seriously here so seeing 5 or 6 passed out together on a Sunday afternoon is not uncommon. My theory is they use Sunday's malolo to catch up on a weeks worth of sleep since the Samoa alarm clocks (roosters) go off at 4:30am everyday. So I slept for about 3 hours before heading to our school to study. Why not study at the fale (house)?  Well, I'm doing my best to keep school work at school and when I'm home my brothers know they can play with me –trying to start a habit of keeping work at work and home at home for later in life. So I went to the school and got 3 homework assignments done. While there, a few of the trainees started playing a game called Suipi which, from what we've heard, is a card game that most Samoans know. Some folks in the group have been playing it for about 3 days straight (since we got the rules at the all vol conference) and we're hoping to be good enough to take on the trainers during our 3 weeks stay. Some of the other volunteers told us that suipi helped them kill a lot of time during the boring parts of training – so we'll definitely need that now. During our "study" session Maka (Mark) from group 74 (the village based development –VBD- group) showed up. He was hitchhiking to his training village to see his host family. The sun was beating down on us – so I don't see why he tried hitchhiking. His training village is somewhere on the east coast of Upolu, so our village was on his way so he stopped to rest for a second, get some water and cool off before continuing his journey. The buses are totally unpredictable on Sunday (if they run at all) so he continued on his way hoping to catch a ride that would bring him closer to his village. Hope he made it.

Last but certainly not lest, my family gave me a Samoan bible today before lotu. One the cover are the words 'O le Tusi Paia' which means 'The Holy Book'. It was a cool gift because now after evening lotu I can reread the passage we went over and read it side by side with my English bible. And so for this entry, I thought I would end with my life verse in both English and Samoan:

1 Timothy 1:16 - …I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.

1 Timoteo 1:16 - …A o lenei lava le mea na alofaina ai a'u, ina ia muamua ona faoalia mai ia te au e Iesu Keriso le onosai tele lava, ia avea a'u ma fa'ata'ita'i o e a faatuatua ia te ia amuli, e maua ai le ola faavavau.

And I'll end with an encouraging verse in Samoan and you can look up the reference yourself. Let's say this verse is going to be useful to me when I get to the point of questioning if what I am doing here actually means something.

Kalatia 6:9 (Galatians 6:9) – Aua ne'I tatou faapalapala I le amiolelei; aua o ona po e tatou ai tatou te selesele mai ai, pe afai tatou te le faavaivai.


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