MJ Live

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Easter Weekend (Written 4/17/06)

I have finally arrived at the first long break of the year – Easter
Break! We had a half day of school on Wednesday (so only the first
three periods of the day were actually taught) but other then it being
a half day, Wednesday was also a big day because it was the first CAT
(Common Assessment Task) that Year 13 (Seniors) had to take this year.
Going in I was a little bit worried about what the overall score for
the class would be simply because sometimes you feel the kids are
getting what you are saying – but when it comes time to perform, you
can be highly disappointed. Fortunately, that was not the case this
time and a good majority of the class did extremely well on the task
(btw, the first CAT dealt with File Management = Create a folder,
create a file, cut, copy, paste) which allowed me to have a great
start to my four day break (Catholic schools here got Thursday off
because of Holy Thursday, which is when the last supper took place).

So I was free on Thursday and decided it was time to do another one of
my personal goals, which was to see the Museum of Samoa. It's hard for
me to see it during school sessions because the museum is only open
from 12pm to 3:30pm, Mon-Fri. While it is a free museum about Samoan
history, it's obviously very hard for the working person to actually
visit this thing. So on Thursday I had some free time to do it and was
pleasantly surprised by the information held inside the museum. I
learned a lot more about Samoan history then I ever did during
training and they have an explanation of what is actually taking place
during an Ava Ceremony (since I could not understand what was being
said, I obviously couldn't pick up on what the significance of
everything was). It gave more information on Samoan history, clothing,
tattoo and the surrounding sea life. Here are a few tidbits I picked
up that I thought were interesting:
- The Pulemelei Mound that I stood on a few weeks back was created in 1000AD.
- The term "Palagi" which is what Samoans called foreigners means
'Heaven-breaker' because when the first European colonists came to
Samoa "to Samoans it looked like there were bursting through the
- The Peace Corps is an officially recognized piece of Samoan history.
In the museum it gives the year in which Peace Corps came to Samoa
(1967-so next year is the 40th anniversary). There was no other aid
organization recognized in the history – which made it even more
There's a lot more information contained within that library but I
have to save something for when people finally come to visit me! Also
on Thursday, I was finally able to locate a Samoan flag (like the one
you would hang from a flag pole) and it was quite a hunt to find it.
Unlike in America, there are no Walmarts or Walgreens to go to and
just pick one up – in fact, no store actually has a genuine flag to
sell. Instead I had to go to the Treasury Department in the Samoan
Central Bank (2nd Floor) in order to find it. Also, unlike America
it's not cheap – 150 tala. So while I will be getting one as a
souvenir, it probably won't be anytime soon.

On Friday, I met up with some people that I met through my blog – Tim
and his roommate, Nicole – they were on vacation from American Samoa.
It was strange and exciting to actually meet a new person, in person,
from my blog. Tim served as a Peace Corps in Uganda and is a teacher
over on American Samoa. So it was great to have an opportunity to talk
with a Peace Corps Volunteer that wasn't from my island. His
experience was quite different from that one I am currently going
through - that just really drove home the point that not all Peace
Corps services are alike; it greatly depends on what country you are
in and how secure that country is. We went back to his hotel and
chatted for a bit. While we were there we met a teacher (Lin is her
name, I think) who works at a University on American Samoa (the same
university that Tim is attending) and I happened to tell her that I
was from Tennessee and she said that she actually worked at MTSU a few
years ago. That's the second MTSU reference I have encountered while
here, I guess no matter where I go I just can't a) get away from the
Tennessee influence b) get away from the Jonas influence. After we got
done at the hotel, Tim and Nicole took me out to eat at Bistro Tatau
which is a very fancy (aka expensive i.e. outside of a Peace Corps
Volunteers spending range) restaurant in downtown Apia. It was one of
the few restaurants actually open on Good Friday and it was a great
meal. We talked a lot about life on American Samoa and compared it
with life on Samoa (American Samoa sounds much smaller compared to
Samoa – and there are no Wal-Mart's over there. Very sad.) While we
were having dinner, Andrew and Mari walked into the restaurant with
Andrew's family who was in town for a visit. So in one day, I met two
people who I have talked to through my blog but had never seen in
person – it was quite a night!

On Sunday, after church, I got to spend a little time talking with
Candice whom I haven't really had a chance to talk with since training
ended. So it was a great time of just chatting and sharing how our
experiences are going along – how we are right on schedule in regards
to the 'Peace Corps Volunteer Timeline'. Since I don't get to much of
an opportunity to actually hang out with Volunteers (especially since
I live on Mount Doom) it was good quality bonding time.

And on Easter Monday, I rested. I am definitely in need of it because
I have biked up and walked down this mountain so many times this past
weekend, my legs are about to fall off. I just keep in the back of my
mind that even though this mountain keeps kicking my butt, when I
finally do the biking around either island it should be a breeze! So I
hope that you had an enjoyable, relaxing Easter break as well and I'll
talk to you soon. L8r.


Jonas said...

HAHA, You Can't Escape Me!

Nicole Ashley said...

Hi Marques! Glad you had a good Easter. It was great to meet you and I had a lot of fun hanging out on Friday, even if you did go to the wrong UT. ;-)

And thanks for the tip about trying the food market for kava bowls. The flea market was closed on Saturday but the food market had everything we needed.