Monday, April 29, 2013

Samoan Day!

Talofa Lava!

My whole New Year resolution of blogging more is not working out so well, but hey what’s the point of having a new year’s resolution if you don’t break it, right? J

Anyways this past Friday was our Samoan Day at school. The students and teachers worked for over a month to put the whole thing together. The school was divided into two teams Mosooi and Teuila. I was on Team Mosooi. Both of those names are names of plants native to Samoa. Each team had their own uniform made, women and girls wore a traditional puletasi and men and boys wore an ie’fataga. (I think that’s how you spell it).

The whole point of Samoan Day is to showcase Samoan culture and to remind the kids how amazing a tradition they come from. The event started at 7:45 in the morning with a parade around the village, followed by speeches, siva (dances), sasas (Samoan beats), and pese (songs). The whole village came out to watch the kids and Tama (the reverend) was a special guest. After the performances the special guests were presented with traditional Samoan gifts the same way they would be if they were at a Fa’alavelave. Some of the staff members were up all night preparing food for an Umu (Samoan oven using leaves, rocks, and fire) and setting up the event. I showed up at 4 am to help out and found out that they were just finishing from the night before.

I was so proud of my students and the kids. They really embraced the day and it was obvious that everyone had a wonderful time. While I was sitting there in my puletasi, my two ula (lei’s), and practicing for the event, I was reminded once again that I live in Samoa. I feel like it’s just become normal life for me that I forget how foreign it was just 10 months ago.

Here are some photos from the day. Keep in mind that it was already 80+ degrees outside the sun was shining down really hard. The kids and the teachers were both exhausted from the heat.

Team Teuila getting ready for the parade.

Team Mosooi (my team!) lining up for the parade.

More of Team Mosooi.
Vinny of Team Mosooi
 Both Lagi and Vinny are in my 7th grade English class. They gave speeches on Samoan History for their respective teams.
Lagi of Team Teuila

Hanna and Opete from 8th grade doing Teuila’s traditional dance for men and women. This is used as a huge fundraiser because people come up and stick money on their oiled bodies or just throw it at them. 
Team Mosooi doing a siva. If you look in the back, you can see me.     

Adelyn (8th grade) is the equivalent of a team leader as we begin our sasa.  
Better picture of our dancing. The ula (lei) around our neck is made of the mosooi flower.  

The day was wonderful and I’m so happy to have experienced it. The crazy thing is that I was hearing about Samoan Day for forever and everyone kept saying, don’t worry about it, it’s not until the end of the year. Now that it’s finished, I realize we really are in the home stretch. I only have 5 weeks of teaching school left and 6 weeks until I fly home.

I will write more about Teacher Appreciation in Pago, which takes place May 10. Hope all is well with everyone back home. Manuia le aso!