Monday, February 16, 2009

Enough of the school stuff...

Our home is getting homelier and homelier every day and Matt has done and amazing job cleaning and organising our belongings. It’s the finishing touches that now make it not just a house, but a home!

On Friday night we had the new Fijian teacher, Kelemeni, around for dinner. It was a special dinner because it was fish from the inati last Sunday and homemade coconut cream.
The inati is held each Saturday over on Fale (say Hwa-lay), sharing out the fish among the nuku (village) from the men’s fishing trips. This week we got three medium sized fish and last night was the night to test one out.

After thawing it all night and all day in the fridge to keep the flies away from it, I was finally ready to fillet it. I have to admit I felt pretty sorry for the fish, with the undignified way I approached the filleting. I really should have paid more attention to ‘Gone Fishing’. Anyway, eventually I had a nice bowl of cubed fish bits. It went back into the fridge while I attacked a coconut with an enormous meat clever.

After much laughter from Kelemeni, he demonstrated how to sharpen a strong stick and stand it up in the ground to husk the coconut… at least that’s what he hoped to achieve. He couldn’t ram the stick into the hard coral ground and the stick ended up breaking instead of the coconut, which just goes to show how hard the coconut husk is. After a while we asked some kids walking by to husk it and they arrived back after just a few minutes.

Next I had to drain the coconut into a bowl and crack-open the nut. On our verandah, attached to a log that doubles as an ants’ nest, we have a metal coconut scraper. By scraping the coconut flesh into the bowl, rubbing it between your fingers and then squeezing it (the palangi way- through a chux-cloth) you end up with fresh coconut cream. Yum!

We have just had Andrew, another VSA based in Atafu arrive to stay with us at ‘Hotel VSA’. We proved that you can lose each other on Fenua Fala (Say Hwen-noola-Hwa-la); just as Andrew got dropped off on the beach next to our house, we walked down the stairs and off to meet him at the wharf. After 20 minutes waiting, a man nearby told us the palangi had been dropped off at our house. Upon returning Andrew was no-where to be seen.

Not being one to sit around for long, Andrew had headed off on a walk and got chatting to our friend Tapu who runs the diesel generator. Eventually he turned up home. Andrew is a technology teacher, and has been very busy helping to organise the workshops on each of the three islands. At the moment he is in an important meeting with the Taupelenga, the elders of the island.

In other news, we went snorkelling on Valentine’s Day, being brave and venturing out to the deep blue of the lagoon. We stood on the edge of the medium blue and looking down, were shocked to see how steep it descended and how far it went. We couldn’t see the bottom, but could see off in the distance some towering mountains of coral and some pretty big fish… no sharks at this stage thankfully, but we did see what we thought was a small moray eel! We didn’t stick around long to ask its name!

This Friday is the first General Fono of the year. Members of the other two islands come to Fakaofo for meetings and competitions such as dancing and singing. It is a particularly important one this time, because it is the year that Fakaofo is the lead island and it will be Foua’s inauguration as the ‘big cheese’ of Tokelau.

We are getting used to the heat. Last night was a bit chilly and when we checked the temperature is was a chilly 27 degrees Celsius. Today I even forgot to take my fan to school and I didn’t complain once that it was too hot! I must be getting used to this life! Having said that, a rain-storm has just kicked in! I love it when it rains!


Swaggie said...

Very good writing, descriptive, humourous

Fievels said...

Thanks Dad, it helps to be humorous about things... sometimes if you don't laugh, you'd cry!

Maggie said...

I was the VSA teacher at Tialeniu School back in 2001/2002. I lived in your house which has not changed. Same furniture and computer tabel in same place. You have a fridge though and I never had one of those, only a freezer. Say a big hi to the staff there from me.
Reading your blog brings back many happy memories.
Maggie Dickson

Fievels said...

Wow! Hi Maggie! What a surprise to have a message from you! We discovered last night that the roof has a leak... there is a big dent in the wood, and a big bubble of water being held back by a layer of paint!

I have to remember not to sit with my laptop under that part of the roof just in case!

In fact, it is pouring down now, so I'd better get back to the house to see if the roof is still up!

Sitting next to Danny. I read him your message and he says hello. Will say hi to the other teachers tomorrow!

Rushing home now...