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.