Monday, August 16, 2010

The Last Fun Football

The highlight of every week for me is Fun Football, an hour with the kids being coach. I usually get kids the kids who are 6-11 and they are just the right age. They aren’t the cheeky teenagers and aren’t too young you can’t do anything with them. I have fun with this age group.

Last Saturday was my last time with these kids since I’ll be leaving Samoa next week. It was always a fun tradition when I was a young player to play Butts Up with the coach as the target, so I let these kids do the same. For those of you who don’t know what Butts Up is I’ll explain. Every player has a ball and they all line up shoulder to shoulder in front of the goal. The coach, or losing team, stands in the middle of the goal, turned around, and rear end facing the players. The fun for the players is to see who can shoot the ball and hit the coach’ cushion to put it nicely. Needless to say, I think that was the highlight of the hour of football for the kids, especially the ones who had good aim.

The Business House Tournament also finished up last week. The Peace Corps team didn’t win anything, but considering we always struggled with numbers and most of the players hadn’t played either in a long time or ever, I’m proud of the team. Well done team!

The staff here at FFS held a dinner for me on Saturday night. That was a lot of fun and I enjoyed dinner and cocktails with them. Although, I’m not used to cocktails much anymore since they are usually unaffordable on a PC budget and I am not used to sugary drinks...tummy ache. The dinner was a nice send off though, as was tea this morning. I will miss the staff and being involved in football in Samoa. It has been quite an experience seeing the administrative side of football and I am glad I had the opportunity.

I started packing up my room on Sunday. It finally hit me I’ll be leaving next week. I think getting on that plane next Friday morning will be a bit difficult. This has been home for 2+ years and even with all the ridiculousness of my time here in Samoa, a part of me will never leave the islands.

So this may be my last blog from Samoa, not sure after my sister comes Wednesday if I’ll have another chance to write again. I might continue the blog for a while after I get back to the States, detailing my shock and awe with re-adjustment. We’ll see...too far in the future for now. If this is my last blog, thank you everyone for reading. I have had a good time telling my misadventures as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some more Futsal action

I wrote last week about the Futsal tournament being a big success and everyone enjoying the change of pace. Well, now I can be included in that group. Our head groundskeeper is the president of the Adidas Soccer Club and asked if I would play for them in the Futsal Tournament. I didn’t know if I would be allowed to play since I work in the FFS office, but the powers that be approved me playing because at the end of the day I am technically a volunteer and am not paid by FFS.

So after Fun Football with the kids on Saturday morning I headed up to the NUS gym, put on the uniform, and strapped on my indoor boots. I didn’t really warm up since I was a little late so my touch was off in the first half, but I eventually found it and had a good time playing. I kept trying to lead other players with passes and quickly found out that forethought in passing/making runs doesn’t often happen and my passes more often than not ended up out of bounds. We eventually worked it out and I had an assist or two. I’m not a shooter, even though in a small game like Futsal I should have blasted the ball instead of not shooting at all, but I tend to be more of a play maker and defender than a forward. I had fun nonetheless and look forward to the next game on Saturday.

There’s an article in today’s Samoan Observer regarding the Futsal credit: me! After my game, I was handed the camera to take photos. I really enjoy using the super nice camera, so I had no problem messing around it and pretending to be working.

I’m leaving the office next Tuesday since my Peace Corps service is almost up, so I’ve been trying to finish out projects and transfer files I have that the office staff will need next year. We are having a goodbye dinner for me on Saturday, so that should be fun.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Futsal comes to Samoa

On Friday, Vaigaga Primary School had a festival here at the FFS fields. We set up two rotations, one for the older kids, one for the younger kids. Again, I was in charge of one of the playing fields. This is much more fun than running the drills. The kids can be really funny when playing too. They all have a good time kicking the ball around and some are more serious than others, taking competition very seriously.

We had just started a new rotation of kids, so I handed the red bibs/pennies to a team of six and the others were in white t-shirts. The kids must have been Year 3 or so, around 8 or 9. The red team gathers in front of the goal, hands in, and cheer “Go Red!” Well, not to be out done, the team in white t-shirts sees this and they too gather around their goal, hands in, and yell “Go White!” I was cracking up. The games are only about 4-5 minutes before they rotate, but that group of kids was into it.

The Football Federation just started a Futsal tournament here. So Saturday after fun football with the kids, we headed up to the National University of Samoa gym to watch the competition. Futsal is such a different game from outdoor soccer. It is even different than indoor soccer where you can play off the walls and do a give and go with your self. In Futsal, there are out of bounds and you must kick the ball in while the ball is stationary on the line and you only have 4 seconds to pass it in. This caused lots of problems and teams were penalized often for improper procedure. The goals are smaller and only 5 on a team play at one time. The game is so fast paced, as in indoor soccer, but the ball is smaller too. It was really fun to watch the games and everyone seemed to enjoy the change of pace.

We just had special visitors from FIFA and OFC here. Reynald Temarii, OFC President and a FIFA Vice President, and three others from FIFA and OFC were here for a visit. They had an ava ceremony with the head of state, so all the stops have been pulled for them. It is a big deal though; the VP of the international soccer body came to visit, pretty cool.

My sister comes for a visit in a couple of weeks. I’m excited to see her since it has been nearly 2.5 years since I last saw her. So I’ve been busy making reservations and deciding on what we need to do before I leave; what kind of fun I’ve missed out on and not done in the past 2 years that I need to squeeze in now. I think I’m most excited for her to ride a Samoan bus...can’t wait to see that craziness. I’m a cruel sister I know, but I am the younger one and I’m sure all younger siblings will agree that it is our job to pester the older siblings; it’s what we do best. But in all seriousness big sis...I am very much looking forward to seeing you.

Friday, July 30, 2010

You’re really important

I was at work yesterday morning when the phone rang. I answered it and the guy speaking wanted to talk to my boss, who wasn’t in, so I told him I’d take a message and pass it on. The guy then says, “This is Misa Telefoni.” An alarm went off in my head saying...this guy is important. Misa Telefoni is the Deputy Prime Minister, basically the Vice President of Samoa. So that was pretty cool yesterday. I don’t think I’ll ever talk to someone that important in the USA.

The Peace Corps soccer team is still playing, just 2 more games left. We’ve struggled with getting numbers for every game, even had to play down a player on several occasions. Injuries have also taken their toll on the team. We are for the most part having fun playing, there are some teams though that really need to take it down a notch; this is after all a social tournament, not an official league or anything like that. I can be competitive, but I’m not out for blood like some teams are (or to give people concussions like one of our players received). I enjoy watching my teammates, some of whom have never played before or aren’t athletes, play soccer and I’m quite proud of our team. We have to work much harder to get numbers every week than businesses based here in Apia since most of the volunteers aren’t in Apia. We manage though and have a good time getting some exercise.

I promised one of the players who doesn’t usually play we would go for pizza after the game if she played; we were in desperate need of players so I had to do what I had to do to get players. So we went straight into town for pizza at Italiano’s. Afterwards, we went next door to On the Rocks to split a couple of pitchers of Vailima (the local beer). It occurred to me as we were sitting there just how great of a country this is...I can go to a bar in soccer shorts having just played a soccer game and no one thinks anything of it. Awesome! That is one of the things I will miss about Samoa, you don't really have to be dressed up to go out on the town here. That is perfect for me since I hate dressing up.

Monday was a sad day. Three of my fellow Group 80 members left the country to head back to the USA. It is weird to see your group leave, makes you wonder where 2 years has gone. It seems like it wasn’t that long ago we were newbies and just getting into the country, all of us still strangers to each other. Now we are really good friends and splitting up is hard. It is amazing how close people can become in 2 years in a foreign country. Their departure also means I’m the sole remaining member of Group 80 on my island of Upolu. There are still 6 on the big island of Savaii, but I’m the only one on’s an odd feeling knowing your time is coming soon too.

It isn’t that I don’t want to leave necessarily; I’m ready to go in many ways. However after 2+ years, Samoa is just as much of home as the USA is, so in some regards I’m leaving home too...I’ve gotten used to island life. But it is time for me to go and I know that; got to move on to other things and let life continue. I’m still not looking forward to taking the GRE and applying to grad school; something I need to start preparing for. But for now, I’m still on and island and going to faifai lemu (take it easy).