Tuesday we took advantage of a slow office day and spent the morning downtown at the cultural center of Samoa. The young people here are dressed in traditional ceremonial clothing that would have been worn by the chief, a Matai, or his family.
The building in the background is a Fale. Driving around the island you see these all over, some that are smaller still serving as the main house for a family, and the larger ones for village events. I'm not sure about this, but in our meeting this afternoon with the President he told us there is no word for privacy in the Samoan language.
We watched a tattooing session for a few minutes. This ceremony is considered sacred so no pictures or talking was allowed. It was done in a Fale by a man from his village trained in this art. The traditional tattoo, shown by this young man, take 12 days and covers his body from the navel to his knees. The navel is done last as they apparently is the most painful. None of it looked fun to me!
The Umu, or outdoor kitchen is used for cooking food, wrapped in leaves and put on hot rocks. Here they are weaving Pandanfs leaves to make "paper plates" that they served our lunch on. Our lunch was a piece of fish, a baked banana, taro and something green that I'm not sure what it was. All of the food was cooked in this Umu.
Bananas are an amazing fruit! In the lower picture you can see the fruit just starting to form. Banana trees only produce one bunch of bananas. Their roots send out runners and a new tree will start to grow. That's why you never see just one banana tree. It will take 9 mos. for the new tree to produce its one bunch of edible fruit. Banana leaves are used for wrapping food in to cook and are sometimes 10-12 feet long!
Brent is the financial secretary. Samoa is a cash culture - very few places take credit cards. That means all of the missionaries need to receive their living allowance in cash. So basically Brent just mostly plays with money and works very hard not to lose any. He also helps with travel Visas and making sure the missionaries have power, that has to be paid upfront in cash. The missionaries text his cell phone and tell him they are out of power. He pays the power company and then texts them a coded number so they can get power. It is a crazy system!
We spent Sat. morning with the Jacksons exploring the South side of the island of Upolu. (The island we live on.) We visited two beautiful waterfalls, one of which I had to photograph under a canopy because it was raining. We hiked through a rain forest to get to the first one. The scenery is spectacular!
|Sapo'aga Falls Viewpoint|