Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Arriving at our Training village, Manunu

June 16, 2007

Three car loads of Peace Corps people departed for our inland mountain training village of Manunu where we are going to spend the next two weeks living with a Samoan family and our first exposure to a Samoan village.

What a welcome we received! A banner over the roadway into the village welcomed us in Samoan. Along the road, really a path, ginger flowers lined the roadside. We immediately were went to a large fale, open meeting house, for a traditional welcoming Ava Ceremony with all the officials of the village sitting on mats and giving long Samoan speeches welcoming us. Then the women and girls of the town entered singing and placing ginger flower leis around our necks. This was followed with giving us coconuts with the ends cut so we could drink the cool and refreshing coconut water inside. Everything happened so quickly and unexpected that I was unable to even get a picture.

After the initial ceremony outside the fale and waiting, our new host family waited anxiously to greet their new Peace Corps, or Pisikoa, member into their fale, our new home. My new host family had a sign to both locate and greet us.

It is hard to explain the impact our arrival had on both us and the village people. We had suddenly entered a new world. We no longer were in Kansas anymore.

Our Host Family

New Arrivals

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