Friday, August 17, 2007

Last Sunday in Manunu


8:30 am Service

Today marks our last Sunday in Manunu and also Samoan Father’s Day. For those of us whose families attend the EFKS (Congregational Church) in Manunu, it is quite a day as the church bids us farewell. Several Peace Corps members participated in the service while four of us spoke to honor our fathers. I may add that some Peace Corps volunteers go to the local Mormon Church in the Village of Sauniatu because of their host families.

At the conclusion, or more properly the extension, of the service, we all got up on stage and were given ulas (leis) made of candy by members of the village. This recognizing of Peace Corps, our trainers, host families, fathers, and anyone else in the community lasted for over an hour. It worked something like this: You come up, the villager’s parade by, giving you a kiss and an ula. You then reciprocate by placing one of your ulas on some one else. At times you are heavy with candy, at other times light.

Over the weeks, I have noticed a change in the pastor, and us. The pastor has come face to face with many non-believers and has found us to not be so bad. He has even accepted and even welcomed our secular speeches in front of his congregation. His tone is much more welcoming than the initial commanding rhetoric. I think we in the Peace Corps too have come to recognize the importance he and the church plays in the life of Samoa. Maybe this last Sunday is some sort of reconciliation by us all. Maybe.

Lisi and Maleko Getting Ready to Speak

Lini with Candy Lei

Reception Line

Kissing and Hugging Continues

Morning Service Group with Leis

4:00 pm Service

Just when you think your emotions can not handle any more, the EFKS church shows once more their sorrow about the Peace Corps leaving during a 2 ½ hour program performed mainly the Youth Group. Fortunately, those three Peace Corps Volunteers who went to the Mormon Church in the morning and missed the morning EFKS service, were able to join us in the afternoon. The Meyers family who donated money for the school project on Saturday and some of their sailing companions also attended.

The feelings of loss one felt as the Youth Group sang, danced, and did skits, was felt by all. The final song was especially written by Tusi, from our host family, for the occasion.
There was hardly a dry eye. (See “It Won’t be Long” post for lyrics).

At the end of Youth Group Program, we all got up on stage and again formed a line as each church member hugged and kissed us goodbye.

Safyia Singing

Youth Choir Performing

Skit about the Evils of Alcohol

Meyers Family Being Recognized for Donating Money to Repaint School

Reception Line after Afternoon Servive

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