Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fale and the Volcano

Hey, peeps. Long time no blog.

(Let me just say, I'm gonna edit this and add more pictures when I get to school tomorrow. The net is too freaking slow at home, but I wanted to get this posted.)

This semester has just been crazy. We were told ahead of time that spring (technically fall since it’s the southern hemisphere) semester would be insanity and they were not wrong. First we had a month of Samoan Day practice, then Samoan Day. And March has been nuts. First of all, Kelly, my friend from Mount Rushmore, came to visit with her friend Jill. It was super fun and time just flew. So there went the first week of March. Then there was Spring Break. I did absolutely nothing, and it was AMAZING. I just hung out on The Rock and slept in and did nothing productive and it was awesome.

Anyway. There went the second week of March. And then last week was just insanity preparing for accreditation, which is this week. For those of you not in the education field (which was me a few months ago), schools have to go through accreditation every so often to make sure they are still legitimate schools and kids are actually learning. It’s a pretty big deal, because if they don’t get accredited, then the kid’s diplomas don’t count, because they won’t be from an accredited school. So colleges won’t accept them, etc.

Anyway, everyone has been going crazy preparing for this thing. Last week, I got the genius idea to let me kids paint my walls with Marine Science and Earth Science murals. This sounds like a good idea in principle, but the problem was I had oil based paint, which does NOT come out of stuff or off the desk and floors very easily. Plus, kids were just careless and not at all as excited to be painting as I thought they’d be. So they just painted the stupidest stuff, and it looked really bad. PLUS, there was paint ALL OVER THE FLOOR, and I had no idea how to get it off. Even my mom, the Painter Extraordinaire, was basically like, “Yeah, you’re screwed.”

Anyway, I had this vague idea that if I got paint stripper it would come off the floor. So, I bribed some of my favorites with food (the Samoan appetite should never be underestimated) to come and help me on Saturday. I took them to Carl’s Jr for lunch, and they were basically my slaves for the entire day. First I went to the soccer game at 8 am, and then three of the boys that are on the soccer team and were also helping me got off the school bus with me at Ace Hardware on the way home. There then followed a grand shopping adventure with Miss Amber and Her Teenage Boys. The store actually has a “no minors” rule unless with an adult, so I had to be like, “They’re mine.” You should have seen the disbelieving look the door lady was giving me. I had this trail of Samoan teenagers behind me, and people kept asking me if they were bothering me. I kept having to explain that they weren’t following me with nefarious intent, but were actually helping me. One guy that happened to be there actually taught at Leone last year, and he could not believe my little hoodlums were volunteering their Saturday to help me. But as I’ve said before, I like the kids other teachers don’t like, and in return those students have my back. They take a while to win over, but they will do pretty much anything for me now. They are super loyal once they are yours.

Anyway, after Ace we headed over to the high school, which was in full swing of people getting ready for accreditation. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how many people were at school on Saturday in order to get ready. I ended up with a half a dozen kids helping me (Eneliko/Kasi, Panweichi, Sean, Stan, Epitacio, Paulo, Justin, and Fale). We had a freaking blast. We were there from around noon to eight thirty, just painting and trying to get the paint off the floor. The resulting mural is AMAZING. Kasi, Sean and Fale are especially amazing artists. Fale (who isn’t even my student, we’re just buds because he hangs out with Peni a lot) just like picks up a paintbrush and whips up a volcano. It’s astounding.

Fale and his volcano

Samoan teenagers. This is about the time they started complaining about how hungry they were.

Sean and Fale consulting about what to paint in the corner. Everytime I made a suggestion they gave me a scornful look and proceded to ignore me.

Anyway, one would think that after spending all week with them, I would be sick of them and not want to spend all of Saturday with them, too. But in all actuality, and even though I’m not supposed to say this, they are more than just my students. They are my friends, and I like hanging out with them. So spending nine hours with them on a Saturday was actually really fun. We took a break in the middle to go get lunch, and on the way back I told them just because I fed them didn’t mean they got to go home now. They still had to come help me. So on the bus ride back, I got off the bus and realized none of them wear following me. I looked on the bus and they were all cracking up, acting like they weren’t going to get off the bus. It was funny. I really enjoy them. It’s not that unexpected that I would like them as people. They are not that much younger than me, when it comes down to it. They are eighteen, which makes them the same age as my cousin Jocelyn, and she’s one of my favorite people in the world.

ANYWAY. We stayed at school until around 8:30 at night, and then two of the boys acted as my bodyguards on the way home, so I wouldn’t get attacked by dogs. (Our field director just got attacked by dogs, and he was all bleeding and unable to walk and out of work for a few weeks. Island dogs are not to be trifled with.) It was a pretty successful day, and no major incidences of any kind. Although I did notice on Monday that SOMEONE had taken blue paint and tagged “TAP” on the sidewalk with a paint roller. (TAP is Taputimu, the village were most of my hooligans are from). I can’t say for certain whom it was, but I’ve a pretty good guess. Had to have been someone with access to blue paint and a paint roller, at a time with no one else was around on campus. Just reminds me that I haven’t completely reformed the little delinquents. Lol.

Kasi painting his island

Fale painting the sunset they decided on for the corner

Fale and Kasi working hard

Kasi and Justin

1 comment:

  1. Your blog brings color and life to our island paradise. I especially enjoy reading about how food plays a big part in our culture. You have embraced that and I love hearing about times like these. One of the main reasons I choose to live here and not America is because the environment is safe for kids to grow up, education is very very important and maintaining accreditation island wide is really like paying it forward. God Bless you Amber and sure do wish more people would learn the life lessons you teach our kids :)