Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa

Archive for March, 2009

Disipline Issues

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on March 24, 2009

I’m at the peace corps computer, so I’m not able to upload any images with this post. I also don’t have anything else to show you. I do however have some interesting news from my school.

Every year (english: grade) is split up into serval classrooms, depending on their optional classes. The year 12 computer option is in room D1. However, only 18 of the 40 or so students are taking computers (some of the others are taking geography or art). This has been a recurring problem, because a large portion of the classroom remains unsupervised during times of the day.

Having only 5 working computers, I will sometimes split my students into groups, so I can have as close to a 1:1 student to computer ratio as possible. Yesterday was one such day, and I left the other computer students with the students who don’t have class in the classroom unsupervised. Big mistake. I came back toward the end of period, and one of the other teachers was in the room. It seems that some of the boys had brought a portable DVD player to school that day and they were watching “blue movies.” This is what Samoans call pornography. So now all of the kids are in trouble, except the 7 that were with me in the computer lab.

Disipline has been an issue for me while in school, and it seems like a common issue for us peace corps. Although corporal punishment is illegal in Samoa, it is still widely practiced. Let me be clear, I have no intention of hitting any of students, but I feel as if they don’t take me seriously because I don’t. Sometimes the students will hit each other, and my mantra has been “no hitting” (kinda like, “no touching” on arrested development) which the students will now say to each other in my presence. Anyway, I guess its something that I will have to learn to deal with, if anyone has any suggestions, please post comments below. I promise there will be pictures next time!

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Nekipolo and other musings

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on March 18, 2009

This past week and a half was more interesting than most. I was in Apia for a conference the beginning of last week. For Years 12 and 13, there are standardized testing that takes place, much like the MCAS in Massachusetts. The conference was to orient subject teachers in their Year 12 end of year exams.

On thursday last week, there was a netball (nekipolo in samoan) tournament. Netball is only played by women, and is like basketball but outdoors. There’s no dribbling allowed, so once you have the ball you have to stop moving. There’s some pictures below.

On friday we had concert by a group of americans that play bluegrass music. They were called the Student Loans. They played some Beatles and Grateful Dead covers. I was also told they played some Sublime and RATM covers, but I didn’t get to hear them. One of the Band members gave me a CD, but it turned out to be blank. Oh well. It was nice to see some americans I didn’t know, and get a break from “slow jams” (what samoans play on the buses).

In health news: I’ve been to two different doctors about the rash now. The second one also said it was caused by the heat, and presribed some more betamethasone (though a stronger kind). The medication helps, but it never goes away. I think there were some parts of the rash that got infected and thats what you’re seeing as a staph infection.

So far this week has been decent. I took some pictures of my students today, so I included those here:

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Rugby Day

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on March 4, 2009

Last week, our school hosted a rugby tournament between the schools of the CCCS school system. There were four schools total that showed up, including Leulumoega Fou, obviously, and Malua Fou, the school were Matt teaches. Needless to say we kicked Malua Fou’s butt. Every school played every other school for a total of 12 matches. We placed second overall, losing to some school the name of which I can’t remember. They were the only school that had on white and not red uniforms. Anyway, congraduations to Leulumoega Fou!

It being the first rugby match I have ever seen, I got a feeling for the rules. To me it seems like a cross between football and hockey. Whenever the players get bunched up and the ball is stuck, they’d do something like a faceoff. Three players from each team interlock arms, and then one play drops the ball in between them, and each team tries to kick the ball in their favor. Blocking is illegal, which is still really weird for me. From what I’ve seen rugby and volleyball are the most popular sports in Samoa. I’ve been telling them how volleyball was invented in Holyoke, Mass, but they don’t seem too impressed.

Other than that not much interesting has happened. I finished reading A Fire Upon the Deep, which was an awesome book. I saw a bootleg of Slumdog Millionaire which was also good. School has settled down into a routine now. I guess a month in isn’t too late. The students seem to like me. I told my junior computer class they could come to the computer lab whenever they have a free period, and now it seems as though they’re skipping all their classes to do typing exercises.

Hope all is well back in the states, here are some pictures from the rugby matches:

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