So far we have been shown around some of the island’s beaches and into Apia (the Capital) by the Sisters of Mercy. They have been very hospitable, sharing meals with us and letting us know about the local customs. The snorkelling at a couple of the beaches was great. One beach had little blue fish I’m sure I’ve seen in Australian pet shop/aquariums. They were a brilliant blue and really stood out against the coral. Only about 3 cm long, but really pretty. The beach is called return to paradise, it was where the TV series of the same name was filmed.
We have a huge Basilica in the grounds of the compound that we live in. Mass on Sundays is a wonderful experience. The Samoans seem to be able to sing in harmony from the day they are born. Gives me goose bumps when they get going. On the first Sunday of the month all the villages in the parish gather at the basilica for a big mass. It was in Samoan but it was still nice.
Learning names has been our biggest challenge and the Samoan names are really different to ours so it is much harder to create an association to help us to remember. Getting the hang of it slowly.
Nick and Clare have been going to the local primary school, St Joan of Arc; so far they are enjoying it. Each has made some friends that come around in the late afternoon to play.
We have all been a bit sick, except for Nick (touch wood). Nothing serious, just some tummy troubles. Change of food I suspect. Water here is all bottled or boiled as expected; we even brush our teeth with bottled water.
Our house is basic but comfortable. Kids have a room each at the moment. We are expecting another volunteer soon, so they may have to move in together for a month or two until one of the current volunteers leave in March. We had a baked chicken for lunch today; rather nice. So we know the oven works now. Although it’s a bit hot to do that too often.
We were awaken one morning at 3am with a Tsunami warning. It was a result of the earthquake in Chile which I’m sure you have all heard about. We had to grab our most precious things, jump in the ute and head up the hill. We were up there until about 11 am, then we got the all clear to come back. Just another day in Samoa, you never know what’s going to happen!