Guys performing the Slap Dance
After four straight days of fixing up computers and mixing and matching hard drives, I got to do something I don’t get to do everyday: perform a fiafia. That’s right folks, Group 75’s FiaFia was so good that our country director actually asked us to do it again! That’s not true – since we were the last group to do a fiafia we were asked to perform it for a dignitary that came to Samoa. His name is Chris Topik and he’s a staff member for Congressman Norman Dicks (D-WA) and he was visiting American Samoa doing a study about the environment there and was told by a colleague that he should stop over in Independent Samoa to see how the two countries are handling their environmental issues. So he had a meeting with the Integrated Coastal Management (ICM) Volunteers that deal either directly or indirectly with the marine environment of Samoa. I did not sit in on that meeting but I heard that the volunteers had presentations prepared for Mr. Topik. We got the word about performing our FiaFia yesterday so to say that it was short notice is an understatement – we were missing only two people though, Ryan and Bob. Julya and Josh were in town so we had a pretty good representation of our group. The reasoning behind doing the FiaFia was to show Mr. Topik a piece of Samoan culture that we (as Peace Corps) learn during our training and to let him see a piece of Samoan culture that he would not get to see during his short stay here – so it was definitely an honor. It was also the first time we had performed in front of the other volunteers – so that was a bit scary. This just reminded me that I can’t wait to get home and show my family and friends the Samoan dances I’ve learned – it’s going to be quite a site. Well anyway, we performed the Sasa group dance, the girls did their dance and then the guys did the slap dance. Even though we had practiced a few times before doing it, I still messed up during the slap dance and because I messed up it messed up Bryan (because he follows my lead) which just goes to show you how well the UT’s are linked together here. Afterwards, we got a free dinner (the real reason we were so willing to perform on short notice) and I met this funny kid named BJ (Bobby-James) who’s 9 and from New Zealand. He was serving drinks (pop’s, not alcohol) behind the bar and I just started messing with him and he starting joking with me – it was definitely a lot of fun. He’s into wrestling (he watches it on SkyTV in New Zealand) and he named off for me some of the wrestler’s he knew – John Cena was his favorite. So it was just interesting talking to a kid from a different culture (different from the one I’m immersed in) and just clicking with him right away. By the time I left, he called me his friend which was really cool and just made the evening that much more enjoyable. Another great thing that happened today is I got a free ride into town and back from the event – so the era of finding cheap ways to get home has finally arrived! Doing the fiafia was fun, but it told me that we definitely need to practice whatever fiafia item’s we are doing for Group 76 (in June) well before we actually have to do it – unless they want a comedy routine! L8r.