Monday, October 18, 2010

Welcome Fia Fia

This Friday was the long awaited welcome Fia Fia. All the current volunteers made their way in to Apia to welcome group 83. A couple of volunteers came in early on Thursday and we all made a big group dinner and had a couple glasses of wine while wring the volunteers for all the information we could. The next day we had our usual classes then at 4:30 preparation for the Fia Fia began. 83 was banished to our rooms while the large conference room was taken over for the ceremony. We got all dressed up (which means applying the small amount of make-up and putting on a clean skirt) and listened to lour music getting all pumped up for the ceremony. It finally hit 6:30 and we made our way into the main room. All the volunteers looked so beautiful in their pulatasis  (formal Samoan blouses and skirts). The first did the traditional slap dance, then the girls did a slower very demure conservative dance, then the men got to dance around doing a very aggressive kind of yelling dance. You may be able to tell I was kind of jealous that the boys got the do the fun one. The girl’s dance was incredibly beautiful, so I guess I can let the boys have this one. There was a cool slide show featuring all the current volunteers then we headed down stairs to the pool to watch the fire dancers. It was crazy, like something out of a movie. The light two batons on fire and tossed them high into the air of spun then incredible fast, at times between their legs. It was very impressive to say the least. Then they brought group 81 up to the front of the pool as its there last year. It was really weird thinking before I know it, that will be me. I will be the one up there in front of the newbies, holding my current volunteers hands trying to hold back tears. Well lets be honest its me so there would be no holding back, I would be blubbering like a baby. Then it was up stairs for food and socializing. After the official Fia Fia was over we all met up at the bar and had a great night out, enjoying everyone’s company and making the best of one of our only night all together. This weekend we leave for our training village and will be split up into four groups of five. Then in December we will move out to our permanent sites on our own. I know there is a lot of time and a lot of steps between now and then but it still seems like such a foreign concept. Here I am living in comfort in a hotel in a bustling little town and soon enough I will be out in the Samoan boonies all on my own. It just seems so surreal especial when the only Samoan I really know is how to say hi and count to ten. I’m sure when the day comes I will feel much more prepared but it’s a little hard to see from this side of the looking glass. I am feeling a little nervous about moving in my host families house this weekend but I know it will do wonders for my language and really mark the beginning of my adventure into the culture. Here is hoping I have a family with a baby, if not I will just have to love on a neighbor’s because these Samoan babies are hard to keep you hands off of. I will report back soon on my move into the village, my temporary family, and the babies status in my host village! Thanks for reading everyone! 

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