Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa

Archive for November, 2008

Happy Turkey Day

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on November 28, 2008

We’ve got Thanksgiving off, so we’re back from the village and staying in Apia for the next two days. I hope your Thanksgiving is going alright. They gave us today to ourselves, and I was hoping to go see Quantum of Solace in the local theater, but they’ve already stopped showing it. Mama Mia however has been showing since we got here in October. Samoans seem to really enjoy their ABBA. Otherwise today’s been very relaxing. Tomorrow we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with peace corps volunteers and other Americans. Rumor has it we’ll be cooking a turkey in a traditional Samoan umu (more on umu’s in a bit). We’ll be going back to the village tomorrow where we’ll have two more weeks of training and then we’ll finally be volunteers!

The village stay has been very nice. I get along very well with my host family. During a typical day I wake up around 6:30, and eat breakfast, usually a bowl of ramen and some toast, maybe eggs. At 7:30 I leave for training, and come back at noon for lunch. We have classes again all afternoon, which end around 4:30. From 4:30 to about 6, we usually tafao (the Samoan word for hanging out), which includes playing cards (including a Samoan card game called suipi) or volleyball (fa’asamoa: voli) with the local sole (Samoan for dudes). Around six o’clock is sa, which means everyone has to go home and do their evening prayer. After the prayer we have dinner, and then after that we tafao again. This usually includes me and Paul playing guitar and ukulele. I picked up a cheap (49 tala) uke in Apia, and I’m learning how to play. Samoan songs aren’t that hard since they only ever use the C, F and G chords (They might throw in a D from time to time).

Saturdays tend to be very lazy. I’ll sometimes watch movies on my laptop with the family, or if I’m lucky go visit some nearby part of the village (like our family’s taro plantation or the day trip in the pictures below). Sunday morning we wake up bright and early to go to church, while my dad and some of the other soles make the umu. The umu is the traditional Samoan method of cooking. They make a large fire on top of a pile of rocks. This heats up the rocks and when the fire’s died down, they put their food (usually taro, breadfruit, palusami and a size 2 pig) on top of the rocks, which they then cover with breadfruit leaves. This seals the moisture in, and cooks everything very nicely. After we come back from church we eat umu for lunch, and then nap until 4, when we have the second church service. I hope that gives you some kind of indication of how I’ve been spending my time here in Samoa.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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