Sunday, May 17, 2009

My how things change

When I first moved here I had a 24/7 guard. That got old the first day. Someone was always here watching everything I did and even sleeping at my house. I suppose for the first few months it was probably a good idea, but you know how it is…I didn’t really feel like I needed a babysitter 24/7. Gradually, the watch lessened during the day but I still had people sleeping here. I kept telling them they didn’t have to sleep here it was ok, but I didn’t really think I was having an impact. The all of the sudden it all stopped. No one came over for lotu (15 minute family prayer time right around dusk), no one came with food, and no one came to sleep at my house. It was great, but since it stopped so suddenly I thought they were mad at me. Turns out they were ok with leaving my on my own and I appreciate that. Everyone still thinks it is odd I sleep all by myself. I routinely get asked if I'm scared sleeping alone. Sleeping alone doesn’t really happen here, especially not for young females. I guess I can consider that as one of the goals of Peace Corps, pass on aspects of American culture to host country nationals.

I went from not really having anything to do in the MPA, to snorkeling around and documenting all the species I saw, which is really just an effort on my part to do something in the MPA, to working a lot in the MPA. As I described earlier, we recently put fish houses and started the clam farm; so now I have lots I can monitor and do for the MPA. Combine the work for the MPA with the work for other projects and I actually have things to do. I still have a lot of free time, but I’m glad I have at least a few hours of actual work; it makes the day go by so much quicker.

The way I get my meals has changed a lot too. I usually feed myself all three meals a day, except for to'ona'i which I eat with the matai or one of the women's groups. People send stuff over quite often or if I’m out in the village someone usually sends something home with me, like sugar cane, papaya, bananas, niu, etc. But for the most part, I cook for myself. The Salesatele Fisheries Management Committee, made up of matai and a few untitled men of the village, now sit in a fale near me and leoleo the MPA, or watch over their clams to make sure no one steals them. They send over cocoa Samoa in the mornings a lot, usually bring me lunch, and sometimes even dinner. And since this is Samoa, the portions are huge so each Samoan meal usually lasts me two meals. This is why refrigerators are so great…I can stick what I don’t eat in there and be set for another meal. They have brought over pani popo (buns with coconut cream over them…so good) and crackers. I’ve been well fed by them.

No comments:

Post a Comment