Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa

Archive for October, 2009

Fia Fia Videos

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 29, 2009

Fellow PCV, Ben, put up a number of videos from the fiafia. I think pictures are good and fine, but the videos are like being there. Ben even added some of his own commentary. Check out the link here:

http://ben-in-samoa.blogspot.com/

P.S. Ben wants all of you to know that his blog is Five Star Quality.

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Happy Birthday Aleks a.k.a. The Hat Post

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 25, 2009

So my brother sent me a package for my birthday that included a silly hat. The story behind the hat isn’t that interesting, he preordered a video game and it came with the preorder. The hat itself however has been very perplexing to other peace corps who think it has some secret significance. When he sent the package my brother said that he wanted me to put a picture of myself on the blog with the hat on, but I thought I’d one up that by having some of my fellow peace corps wear the hat as well.

Happy Birthday Bro!

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Fiafia!

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 18, 2009

So a peace corps tradition is that the new group is welcomed in by the current volunteers with a traditional fiafia. Fiafia is Samoan for party, and it includes a variety of dances and skits that are performed for guests. We had one when we first arrived, and I remember it as being one of our first introductions with the current volunteers. I also remember it as a night of debauchery, so I wanted to relive that experience again.

The show itself went off splendidly. There were several different types of dances. A siva teine, the girl’s dance. The Sasa, which is a dance done sitting down with both genders. Then the boys did a slap dance followed by a haka, which is a dance that many pacific island rugby teams do before a game.

After the festivities, we headed to a new bar that just opened up across from the peace corps office, called bamboo. There the debauchery ensued. Pictures from the night follow. In other news, my principal called me yesterday to inform me that the air conditioner was being delivered to my computer lab that day. I am very excited about that.

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Group 82 arrives, and is then scurried up the mountain

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 7, 2009

So I was prepared today to have an exclusive post, including the first pictures of group 82 in Samoa. While I still have the exclusive, the events of today made for a little more excitement than originally expected. The group arrived, and we had the welcoming ava ceremony as planned, more on ava ceremonies later. After the ceremony, a group of us volunteers went to lunch, where we heard news of two earthquakes occuring in vanuatu. A short time later a tsunami warning was issued, we hurridly paid our bills, and then headed up the cross island road until we felt safe. Although this turned out to be a false alarm, I can’t imagine what the new group must be thinking, less than 24 hours in the country and already evacuated for a tsunami warning.

I remember my ava ceremony. An ava ceremony is a traditional Samoan welcoming. Ava is a drink that made from the root of the ava tree. Ava is the Samoan word, and in the west it is better known as kava. It tastes alot like water with dirt in it. It also makes your mouth somewhat numb, and gives you a happy feeling, as it is a mild muscle relaxant. We were given a phrase to say, “lau ava  lea  le atua, soifua” on the plane ride over and were required to memorize it for the ceremony. I remember how scared we all were that we would mess up, and it nice to see the new recruits squirm, only because I could see myself in their situation.

I havn’t had a real opportunity to meet any one from the new group yet, but they seem like a nice bunch. They are here to primarily teach english in elementary schools, along with other village based projects. I wish them all luck and hope to get to know them better in the upcoming year. So for all the family back in the states, here are the exclusive pictures of group 82 in Samoa, safe and sound.

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Renovations

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 6, 2009

So last week was a very trying week. This week things seemed to have returned to normal. School was back in session, which meant that us volunteers had to go back to our other obligations (i.e. our job!) once again. I did spend my Saturday last week volunteering with the Red Cross in the tsunami affected areas. I didn’t bring my camera so I don’t have any pictures, but if you wanna see what occurred, check out this post on matt’s blog.

So I promised to show you the renovations that have been taking place at LFC. They started with the pond area about 3 months ago. They converted the swamp that used to be there into a mosquito breeding zone. It is a kidney-shaped pond, with a faleo’o (traditional samoan fale) in the center. The pond seems to be a good idea in theory, but as of yet it is still a work in progress. They also tore down the old bus stop, and are now building a new one. I think they should have waited to tear the old one down, cos now waiting for the bus leaves me a sweaty mess.

Last month, they began renovating the school buildings themselves. The buildings are about 30 years old and falling apart, so the renovations are much needed. Also there is asbestos in the ceilings (I’ve also heard that there is asbestos in the roof of my house). This renovation has displaced the year 9 and 10 students, which are now located in the large meeting hall, library, science lab and art room. They’ve already started on the roof of the second building, so I’m hoping that the renovations will be quick. Also, I’m hoping that they will increase the size of the computer lab, when they get to my building, and including an air conditioner in the deal. Pictures below:

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In Memorium

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 2, 2009

I wanted to take this post to reflect on the events that have effected Samoa this week. I noticed that the traffic to my website has jumped up, so I feel the need to reassure everyone that I am alright. The area of Samoa, where I live was unaffected by the earthquake and tsunami, and so I consider myself very lucky. People on the southeast coast of the island of Upolu were not so lucky. I have not been to see the devestation firsthand, but I have seen footage on Samoan TV. My best wishes and condolences go out to the victims of this tradegy.

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