Monday, July 26, 2010

This is just bizarre

I wrote about how after the tsunami last year, certain people in my village chose to loot my house and steal anything which I might have been able to salvage. Well, this is a bizarre story of just how far my things reached.

Last Friday, one of the PC staff members had a dinner for Group 80 since we are on our way out of the country, three of my group are leaving later tonight. It was a great dinner…Mexican food: enchiladas, tacos, salsa, guacamole, and for dessert, chocolate cake, ice cream, cookies, and frozen bananas with chocolate…out bellies were delightfully stuffed. Well, I arrive at the dinner after the PC soccer game and see my good friend wearing a shirt which once belonged to me. This was pretty confusing since it had been nearly a year since I had seen the shirt. I told her “nice shirt.” She replied “yeah, I know…I’ll give it back but you have to hear the story first.”

Liz was in her village and sees a sole wearing a shirt she new didn’t belong to him. She asked him where he got it and he told her he got it at CCK (a local discount and thrift store) for $16. She told him she wanted the shirt and to come by her house later. He didn’t come over, but this being Samoa and therefore very small, she was able to track him down via her host family and recover the shirt, which she handed over to me.

The bizarre aspects of the story are:

1) Liz lives in Savaii…the other island. She also lives inland. So it isn’t like she lives in the neighboring village and the shirt washed up onshore. That is a plausible story. To get to her village from my former village is about a 6-7 hour journey if you time it right with buses (bus from the village, bus to the wharf, boat, bus to her village). So someone had to bring it to the village.

2) The shirt just so happened to be an original. My cousin owns a screen printing shop and made the shirt just for me as a Christmas present in 2008. There are only two of those shirts in existence; it isn’t like one could buy the shirt in a store. Liz knew it was mine because I showed it to her when she came for a visit.

I know exactly how the shirt got there. A former counterpart wife’s family is from my friend’s village. So at Christmas when they went to visit (he told me they were going to the big island for the holiday), they took a whole bunch of my stuff with them to their big island relatives. Which is frustrating considering I thought that maybe my counterpart was a friend and would give my stuff back; that didn’t happen because I saw my stuff in their house and was unsuccessful in convincing them to give it back after the tsunami and even tried after the New Year. Oh well, doesn’t much matter now, but it is impressive that my stuff ended up all the way in Savaii. Now that shirt has a really fun story behind it.


  1. Whoa - glad Liz went and got it.

  2. Sorry to hear about your stolen things, but people there thinks everything should be shared, which is a very drastic way of thinking than people here in America. In America your house, your things, keep your fingers off....unless there is a robbery. I'm glad you hold no ill feelings towards them.

  3. Interesting story. Now you can write a book about "The Peace-Corp-Hood of the Tsunami Shirt."

    Wish my son could be there to help on your soccer team. He is a very good soccer player.