Woke up to the sound of Fale preparing breakfast, wife to cheif Omasei of the village 9th Heaven. I was to stay with this family for the weekend, let them show me life at the most remote spot on Upolu. Right across the island I had travelled to get here, a spot hidden in between dark green mountain ranges and supplyed with water from several falls. As we stopped at the top of a range overlooking the sea big fruitbats crossed the sky like black shadows, crickets played loudly and the air smelled sweet rain. Just as we reached the village the night fell in, it had just past prayer time and people started making their way back to their home fales. In absolute darkness I was shown to Omasei and Fale's place, where them and their three daughters waited with evening tea. I was blessed with the cheif's prayer before we all went to sleep.
Coca samoa, pawpaw, and pancakes watched by intense and curious eyes of a bunch of children who came over to see the palangi, had never seen a white person before. The older daughter took my hand and led the way to another fale where a couple of ladies were busy making fans and mats out of flax. They showed me the tecnique and let me have a go, laughing away at my non existing skills. Then one fan was made especially for me, well needed in this humad heat!
Next stop got to be another craft making family. Here beautiful bowls carved out of palmtree, which seemed to be their income when sold at the market. While the younger generation had some english the elders and kids spoke little, instead used body language and laughed or just stared. Felt 100% accepted when the older ladies let me help them preparing fresh flax ready to be made into baskets and mats. A 90 year old man with no teeth made Coca samoa for everyone, including the school kids who had just finished and now joined the workshop.
In the afternoon a group of kids followed me up the hill to the sea view piont. A kilometre from home and as far as these children had ever been. With excitement and hints of fear they rambled up to me, before running down the hill to safe ground again. Down there the water hole quickly became next activiy: jumping into a pool the river from water falls create. Now this they had done before! A constant stream of kids from the whole village came flocking around to jump in, little ones to teenagers. As I copied they all went crazy, pulling my arms and legs, "again, again, again!". Until the bells for dinner time started ringing we jumped and jumped, youngsters centailnly have more fun!
A samoan language lesson at dinner, prayer time, bed. What a great first day in 9th Heaven.
Talofa - hello
Malo - hi
Oa maj ae? - how are you?
Fiafia vaai ae - nice to meet you
Faafetai fai meaai - thank you for food
Ma ona - I'm full