Friday, August 17, 2007

A Minor Rebellion


The pressures of what are seemingly endless assessments and tests coupled with the very structured environment of the training schedule and the rules of the village emerged in the form of a minor rebellion. We were told by our trainers that the village church was expecting us all to participate in the church service for our last Sunday in Manunu (Also Samoan Father’s Day). Being told what to do for something many felt was an optional choice, caused some of the volunteers to refuse. In Samoan society, when the pastor tells, you are supposed to do. It is not a matter for debate or questioning.

The custom of not being asked or given a choice is a one Americans hold dear. Yet here we are in a very different place, trying our best to integrate into Samoa where authoritarianism rules. I guess we do have a choice as to how deeply we actually want to be part of Samoan culture; what part of our own culture do we want to put into our back pocket. These are very difficult decisions to make and a minor rebellion is to be expected as part of that cultural transition.

1 comment:

Teri said...

A tough one to be sure. Must be a continual struggle as the group adjusts to the Samoan culture. I for one would never choose to give up that much of my personal freedom. Just one of those non-negotiable core values, I'm afraid. One must be incredibly committed to this experience, I think, to be ok with losing so much independence.