MJ Live

Monday, December 12, 2005

Still Learning (Written 12/6/05)

One of the great things about having host country nationals as trainers is that you can ask them questions about the culture and get answers back in English (instead of blank stares). I asked Siloa today about the drunk driver from last night and I specifically asked is it disrespectful to take the keys away from a drunk. He said it was and it could lead to the guy getting angrier and him trying to beat me up or doing damage to the surrounding area. So in terms of culture, I did the right thing by not trying to get the keys but in terms of my personal beliefs that was the wrong decision. Siloa also said that since the guy did not hit anyone or cause massive structural damage odds are he won't get in trouble with the village council. So that was the negative thing I learned today. The positive came in the early evening when the cousin of my father, Sione (John in English, ironic), came by to visit my grandmother. He is the matai of my family his most common name is Tufili (Tuh fill e). From what he told me – he's got a pretty impressive resume – he helped set up satellite dishes around Upolu and Savai'I so that the villages could see the shows that are shown in Apia. He helped build the store that is attached to one of my houses as a source of revenue for the family. He also owns one of the "pay TV" services in Apia and the way he explained it to me is that they send a scrambled signal out over the regular airwaves then have a regular cable descrambler box descramble the signal on the home end – it's only in Apia though. He's also working on trying to win the bid to become the second cell phone carrier in Samoa so their can be good coverage over both Upolu and Savai'i. And finally he was once a member of Parliament – so this guy has quite a record. The funny thing is I asked my mom a few weeks back if there were any matai's in the family and she said no but at the end of my 5 weeks I find out I've got quite an impressive matai. And he spoke English well so it was easy to have a conversation with him in both English and Samoan, which was the only way I was getting this much information from him. The last thing I learned is that my grandmother will be here for 3 months so I'm glad to be getting the heck out of dodge – she doesn't speak a word of English and talks at a high pitch, not a good combo for me. That's it for me, talk to you soon!


My grandmother and Tufili

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