MJ Live

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Four Day Weekend (Written 2/5/06)

It has been a very wet week here in Samoa. There's a tropical
depression basically just sitting right on top of Samoa and refuses to
be budge. For the past week it has rained everyday and has been quite
depressing. There has been a lot of flooding in low lying areas and
the roads are completely pot hole ridden now because they don't use
the same kind of tar we use in America on every road in Apia
apparently. They fill them with gravel which of course gets pulled up
by the rain and the wind and becomes an obstacle on the road. So with
all the flooding and wind, the Catholic schools were cancelled on
Thursday and Friday which meant my first four day weekend! Woohoo! So
the first thing I did when I realized I had Thursday off was do a
little shopping – so that meant weathering a trip into Apia. Since I
didn't know what the roads were like I decided to take the bus in and
survey the damage (on Thursday it wasn't raining bad – but it was
still drizzling) which was not bad at all at least on the main roads.
So I went into town and I got a package that was sent to me – it was a
new backpack which was exactly what I needed (note: if you're coming
to Samoa during the rainy season bring a backpack that is rain
resistant – you will NEED it!) so that meant I was able to go shopping
with two backpacks and you can fit a lot of food in them. And now that
I have some recipes thanks to the Peace Corps cookbook and some of the
female volunteers I knew what to shop for in order to actually make
some meals and build up my kitchen so I'm not scrounging to find
things here. I also learned that you basically have to go to 3-4
different stores in order to find everything you want at reasonable
prices. Nothing is ever really on 'sale' here different stores just
happen to have different prices but they don't advertise them so you
have to go from store to store looking for stuff which can get pretty
tiring when you're caring food in a backpack. But I got a majority of
what I needed and then headed back home before it decided to pour down
on me. On Friday, I basically did the same thing just picking up a few
stray items that I needed in order to cook with and on Friday night I
cooked my first meal, by myself, by following the recipe. So this
weekend I made Egg Drop Soup and Sweet Chili Peanuts Chowmein – both
of which turned out pretty good in my opinion. They also resulted in
the thing that makes my stomach very happy during the next week and
makes my patience jump for joy – leftovers! The two greatest words in
the language of food.  So on Saturday, I was hanging around in the
office and Robyn (a volunteer from Group 74) asked if I would be
interested in learning how to bake – so I was like sure, why not. So
we baked a Butter Sugar Cake which ended up tasting like really good
corn bread but it turned out better then if I had done it alone – so
that was something to be happy about. Then on Sunday I made pancakes
for breakfast…so for all those people who were worried that I would
starve and not learn how to cook, I'm getting there. I'm not a gourmet
chef by any means, but I'm a survivor and I'll be good by the time I
leave (now I doubt I'll be making recipes from scratch though).

Speaking of Sunday, there was a good part to it and a bad part to it.
Let's start with the bad part since it came first. Remember, how I was
talking earlier about the roads being filled with gravel instead of
tar – well the road leading from my house to the main road is a gravel
road so there was gravel and sharp rocks all over the place which
simply could not be avoided all the time. I was trying to be cautious
but eventually the rocks caught up with me and popped my back tired –
so it seems I have the same luck with bikes as I had with cars in the
states. Fortunately, I was more then halfway to Apia so I just walked
it to the bar where we watched the Super Bowl.

And the good part was obviously the Super Bowl. This one was really
special because there's a Samoan on both teams (Seattle and
Pittsburgh) and it was interesting to see which team the majority of
Samoans in the bar would root for. They were all cheering for
Pittsburgh – this was also the bar where we watched the USC/Texas game
(JT's Sports Bar/Hennie's) in which we were against the rest of the
bar, this time we were cheering right along with them. There was a
good mix of Peace Corps, other palagi's (foreigners) and Samoans and
the place was definitely packed. I was cheering for the Steelers and
Julya (who came in specifically for this game – but was unable to get
her Seattle shirt out of the post office before the game) was cheering
for Seattle. Only one of us left happy.  But it was a good SuperBowl
to watch in this country because the Samoans were really into it –
luckily, the last two games we have watched have featured teams that
have some kind of Samoan connection which has really allowed us to
kind of see how they react to American football and to just hang out
with them and form some kind of bond. Now that we know Samoans are
really interested in American football, a few of us 75 volunteers are
going to try to start up flag football leagues at our schools – and
fortunately, the Chicago Bears have just recently sent us (through an
Non-Governmental Organization (NFO) called Avanoa Tutusa) some flag
football equipment which we may be able to use at our schools and get
the kids to actually play it instead of just watching it on TV. We'll
see but as you can see it has been a pretty fun and laid back weekend.
If not for the constant rain (and subsequent bad roads) this would
have been a good start to a weekend without football – but there's
always next week.

And just one more thing to update – I think I just felt an earthquake
under me. My chair was just shaking but there was nothing around me to
shake it – this definitely feels like Noah's Ark weather!

1 comment:

Fletch said...

Do you know Bob Donahue in the peace corps in Samoa? If so, tell him that Kenny says hi. Have fun over there...