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Reisverslag A Dutch girl in Samoa: CH 3 ‘new group’
8 maart 2015
A Dutch girl in Samoa: CH 3 ‘new group’
Time goes by so quickly. It is already my fourth update and my third here in Samoa. Also I have been here for over one month now.
From now on I will try to update you more often, so it won’t be such long texts. And I still have to figure out how to be able to put more photos and clips. Perhaps I can download the photos and clips on another site and put the link in the update.
Here in Samoa you don’t have Wi-Fi everywhere. This means that you cannot go on the internet whenever you want. When you want to go on the internet you can go to one of the few internet cafes in Apia. There are also some hotspots. I myself always go to the Projects Abroad office, where they have Wi-Fi. At the office is a computer with internet which all volunteers can use. You can of course bring your own laptop or mobile with you. It’s just that the office is only open during the afternoon for couple of hours. You can mail or look up something at internet, but because of the time difference it is a bit difficult to skype. Another way to have internet is to buy an internet dongle for your laptop. I have just bought one and now I can also go on internet at home. But just like with the phone you have to top up, get more credit and data. You can buy for example 675 mb for 19 tala, but it only last for one week. To check your balance, you can call *120 and to check how much data you have left you dial *130. Then it will show on you mobile how much you got. This is the only way here in Samoa to be able to call, text and go on internet.
So now something different. On Thursday (19-febr-2015) was another social event. This time we were taught how to cook traditional Samoan Umu. We went to one of the host families. We have been showed how to prepare, wrap and cook the food in an oven ground that was traditionally used and is still used today by most Samoan families. We had coconuts, baked green banana’s, ripe yellow banana’s, taro, taro leaves, bread fruit, fish (tuna) and chicken. We made Palusami (coconut milk in taro leaves) and Faiaieleni (fish in coconut milk). It is a long process. We started at 5pm and could finally eat at 8pm. Imagine they did this every day. Now it is only done on Sunday (see also last update).
Following weekend, that of 21st of February, my roommate finally arrived early Sunday morning. She came with the exact same flight as me, but then precisely 4 weeks later. Her name is Annick and comes from Luxembourg. She is also 24 and is an occupational therapist. So far she is very nice and a good roommate ;). That Sunday she slept in the morning. She had been in Australia for 4 weeks, so she did not had a huge jetlag or was exhausted from the long journey. In the afternoon we went to the Papasaea Sliding Rocks near Apia. In the beginning it looks a bit scary to slide down, but afterwards it is not as bad as you think it was.
The current volunteers at this moment are my roommate Annick from Luxembourg, Ashley from Australia, Kira and Yvonne from Germany, Kellie from Belgium (German part), Anja from Denmark, Melissa from America, Eivor (or Ivy) from Norway and Christa, an older lady but looks very youthful, from Switzerland. Also there are other volunteers, but we don’t see them much. They are Bumbei and elder lady Nori from Japan and elder lady Birgitta from Sweden. This weekend (7 till 9 march) Ashley will be leaving us and another Dutch person has arrived. Tobias is his name and he arrived on Saturday morning. He stays at another host family. I haven’t met him yet.
The weekend after the arrival of Annick. (Friday, 27-febr-15 – Sunday, 1-march-15) we went with nine people to Lalomanu beach. We hired a minivan and had Ashley as driver. We left on Friday afternoon and arrived at the Taufua beach fales after less than one and a half hour. Upon arrival, the first thing you do is jump into the ocean of course. The water has such a perfect warm temperature. Here in Samoa you can swim in the ocean all year round and it also doesn’t matter whether it is day or night nor when it is raining or sunny. I only would not swim when there is a thunderstorm going on above your head. When everyone was cooled down and had a shower we waited for dinner. They said it would be between 19h and 20h, but in Samoan time it means 20.30h. For dinner we had all kinds of delicious food. There was pasta with broccoli and bacon, meatballs and onions, rice, different kind of vegetables and of course there was chicken. The rest of the evening we sat and talked. At that moment Ivy just arrived at the fales. She came from Fiji, but her original flight got cancelled. At 23.00h everyone went to bed. There was also a backpackers group that stayed there the whole weekend. Two of them were Jutta and Jelle (brother and sister) from Apeldoorn (the Netherlands). The first Dutch people I met since I arrived in Samoa. Funny! Next morning I felt very tired. I wasn’t really that tired when we went to bed. I woke up a couple of times during the night. I found the ocean too close; the sound of it was a bit too loud. Furthermore, the mattress I lay on was very thin. I practically lay on the fale floor. Anyway, in the morning after having a nice breakfast we swam in the ocean again. During the afternoon most of us went to the To Sua Ocean Trench. It consists of “two sinkhole-like depressions with sheer rock walls decorated in greenery…. You can swim under a broad arch of rock from the larger pool, serenaded by droplets of water hitting the surface, to the second large opening to the sky. The pool is fed by the waves surging through an underwater passageway – don’t attempt to swim through it.” (guidebook). You can reach the larger pool by climbing a wooden ladder. Some people dare to jump into the water halfway from the ladder. In Samoa most natural sites are on grounds of a family and you have to pay to be able to visit it. For the trench you also had to pay (20 tala). Up at the trench you could leave your things. You could also go to the toilet or shower if you want or need to. There were furthermore beautiful cliffs at the ocean side. At the trench I came across a colleague from the hospital. She is a social worker and here name is also Naomi. She was there with her son and cousins. It was just when we went away and the others were waiting for me I saw her and had a little talk. On our way back to the fales we made some photos at the beach. That night we had again such a good dinner. There was lobster, mussels, white fish, sushi, mashed potatoes, curry and salad with crab. It was Saturday evening and this means that there’s a fiafia show. A dancing family showed us traditional Samoan dancing. Annick, 3 other girls from the backpackers group and I tried as well. After us some guys were asked to go on the dance floor to try it. Next were some boys and a man who did fire dancing. That was so amazing. This family has lost many of its members at the 2009 Tsunami. You can still see some remaining of the Tsunami. Hereafter you could all go to the dancefloor. Our group however went to the beach a bit further away where Anja played her guitar and sang. That night I still didn’t sleep well, even with an extra mattress. I woke up several times, also because of the rain and thunder. Next day after having again a lovely breakfast (American pancakes) we left Lalomanu beach. We visited two waterfalls on our way back to Apia. This was bit of a downer. It was a waste of 10 tala we had to pay in total. The first waterfall (Sopoaga Waterfall) you couldn’t swim and the second waterfall (Falefa Waterfall) the water looked to dirty to swim. So we drove further, sat at the beach for a little while and arrived in Apia on time to hand in the van. While waiting for the men of the company to come back, we went to the McDonald’s to get some ice scream.
On Sunday, the 8th of march I went to church mass for the second time here in Samoa. It is pretty much the same as home, but still it is nice to experience it at the other side of the world. Mass starts at 9am. This Sunday it finished at 10.20am. Also the children choir sang that Sunday, which is nice. At the start of the mass we first stand up while the preacher speaks. When he is done the choir sings and everyone sits down. After this there is like a 20 minute long preach. It is all in Samoan, so I couldn’t understand a word he said. But even if it was in a language I know, I still would find it boring and not listen to it. Next up was collecting the money for the children choir and the church. Then the best part came, the communion. You’re able to stand up and move a bit again. Because for me the wooden benches are so hard. I don’t have much fat. I remember that the communion is always at the end of the mass. But now after the mass there was still 20 minutes. Within those 20 minutes there’s the final preach. Also between bringing the wine and communion and go to the front to get the communion bread, the people say a hymn and stand with their hand palms up and/or holding hands. For me the whole mass I just followed the rest. Stand whenever they stand, sit whenever they sit, go on the knees, shake hands, make a cross, etc.
Some weeks ago I have sent some postcards and just heard that they have arrived. I now know that it takes about two weeks for a postcard to go from Samoa to the Netherlands. My host mother sent it for me at the 19th of February and my parents and two grandmothers got their cards around the 3rd of March.
Since Thursday evening (05-03-2015) I take antibiotics for a couple of days. I scratched some mosquito bites open and some got infected. Oops! :S
Finally, I have a bike. I started looking for it a couple of weeks ago, but didn’t had much chance to go to the store. It’s really hard to find one, because first of all there are not many bikes and secondly they don’t have a bike shop or bike repairer. You have to go and ask people. And if a shop has bikes, the have only one, two or when you’re lucky three bikes. What I noticed as well is that they only have mountain bikes. One day I found a mountain bike I was happy with and bought that one. Later however I find the kind of bike I was looking for when Annick was looking for a bike last Saturday (7-march-2015). Aarghh!! It was a lady bike with a basket up front and a rack at the back. Such a shame that the bike was also very expensive. That’s just my luck unfortunately. When I don’t look for something, I somehow find it. Ah well, I am now stuck with my cool mountain bike. Annick will probably will buy a cheap mountain bike she saw at another shop.
I will stop here now, before it is getting too long again. Next time I try to update you sooner.
For my non-Dutch readers: if you want to read my previous updates e.g. I have translated the Dutch words on this site to English in my first update. You will find it on the left side of this update at ‘reisverslagen’ [= travel blogs] (below the photo of the beach). Next click on ‘new adventure awaits’, (name of my first update). Or you can click on ‘vorige bericht’ [= previous blog] below this update until you get to the first update.
Foto's bij verslag (17)
9 maart 2015 10:43 | Door: Frans Levels
Hoi Naomi, weer leuk om de verhalen te lezen. wil jij ze voor papa's ogen in een groter letter formaat zetten. ik kan het haast niet lezen, zo klein.