Saturday, February 28, 2009


Special mention: Hi Jake, you are wise beyond your years! Read the comment I left next to your comment!

Yippee! You are very lucky to be reading this at the same time as I have seen the men (the ‘Samoan Team’… I’ll explain that in another blog) return from fishing. Matt is with them (I hope), and has been out since 7am this morning... 8 ½ hours ago! I was expecting him back around lunch-time, so I guess I’m lucky to only have been concerned about him for the last 4 hours! The librarian at school a few days ago told me that her husband hadn’t returned home from fishing the night before. I asked her if she was worried and she replied, ‘No, he’ll be on an island on the other side of the atoll. He knows what to do”… well, at this stage I don’t have that much faith that Matt would know what to do, and I’m not sure that I trust these young men here with Matt yet!

Here is a photo hot off the press of Matt and Andrew cleaning their fish. Apparently they caught so many they were able to share them with not only the ‘Samoan Team’, but also the ‘New Zealand’ team. This morning they went over to the other side of the atoll, and then had to wait for the tide to be right before starting their fishing… I think someone should have checked the tide times on the internet, then I might have got my sleep-in instead of getting up at 6.30am!

On Monday night there was a dancing and singing ‘competition’ by the three atolls. It is hard to say who was the ‘best’, but I definitely thought that Nukunonu put on a great show, turning up first and singing for a good half hour longer than the other two atolls, and wearing beautiful green lava lavas and hair pieces. Atafu arrived next. They had the best male dancers, dressed in great looking grass skirts and they put on the best dances, using decorative paddles. Fakaofo arrived later, in what I have to say were dribs and drabs; they must have been tired from acting as the hosts! They put up some pretty good singing though. And, of course, all the kids at school the next day thought that Fakaofo was the best… hmmm, could they be a little biased?!
I had to agree with the administrator when he said that he was pressed to think of a time in NZ when anyone celebrates they way they did that night, and that it was exhausting just to watch them for the 3-4 hours that it went on! That night we experienced our first trip across the lagoon in the pitch-black night, guided only by the stars… and the occasional flash of a torch! Madness…

On Tuesday after school Matt saw a massive water-spout just off the reef, about 1-2km away. It lasted for about 10 minutes, sucking water up out of the sea into a massive cloud, which then rained it out the other side.

That night Foua put on drinks for the village, or so we thought. It turned out to be mostly the elders, the important Samoan and New Zealander’s and a few extra palangi who were on the island doing various jobs: the solar panel installer, the school architect and us. We didn’t stay late, as we were relying on our friend Tapu to give us a lift home in his boat, and the night before had been a long night!

On Wednesday morning our house was broken into. We suspect it was teenagers, as they only took a couple of bottles of beer out of the fridge and Matt’s nearly finished bottle of whisky. For future reference, if you want to break into a house, look for one with broken mosquito nets, pull out a couple of the window slats and climb on in! Everyone on the island is very shocked, apparently it doesn’t happen here much and everyone is convinced they will get caught; it’s a small village, “and people talk.” I’m not convinced.

On Thursday night while swimming, my beautiful aqua, size 7, right foot jandal popped off my foot and floated away. Despite looking for an hour with my trusty maglite, I could not find it. I am still coming to terms with the tragedy. Matt bought me some new jandals from the shop for $6. I ordered blue, size 38’s, but sadly they only had yellow, size 41. I now have room on the back of my jandals for a hitch-hiker.

Friday night, ‘Movie Night!’. We treated ourselves to a dvd… ‘Pieces of April’, a movie about how important family is… gulp!

Today, Saturday, was a great day for the fishermen. Using a stick-bashing and herding method out on the reef, they caught the biggest haul of fish for years. It was celebrated by a procession round the village of the locals slowly following the fish-laden truck, singing and calling out for the whole village to come and collect their inati.

On Monday there is a public holiday to commemorate the 1987 hurricane that severely affected the region. I hear rumour of a kilikiti match.


jake k said...

Hi Fiona and Matt, thanks for replying to Jakes message, you made his day. Fiona, what a great writer you are. Both Jake, myself and my mother are really enjoying your blog. Jake had a rocky start to school. He was hoping you had changed your mind and was coming back to school. He is starting to knuckle down now and do some work without compaining all the time!!! He surprised himself as well as us and most of the Sumner teaching staff when he won the triathalon. He came up to me afterwards and said "mum, I'm not a nerd anymore as nerds aren't good at sports"! Jake will let kids from room 9 now your blog site. Let me know if you need any teaching resources and I will see what I can do.
Take care and keep writing.
Donna Koekemoer

Tweedledi said...

Hey Jake,
Work hard this year and make Fiona proud - not to mention you and your mum!
Fiona told me a lot about you last year, so keep up the good work.

You have proved nerds can be good sportsmen too.

Fiona's Mum

Tweedledi said...

Some new blue size 38's are on their way to you. Not the same as the originals but the best I could do.

Fievels said...

Ha, ha, ha, Jake you never were a nerd!!! Anyway, I'm a nerd, and I think nerds are alright! At least they are always interested in something!

Donna, I'm glad you're enjoying the blog too! There's always so much to write about at the moment! It's hard to find the right time though, because the internet is so slow here!

Mum, thanks for the jandals... next time I loose one it will have to be the left foot! I don't care if they don't match, at least they will be comfortable!!1

Maija said...

Hi Fiona and Matt, was just thinking of you and then remembered about your blog. Have just finished reading all your posts...phew! Sounds like lots of interesting and new experiences so far - enjoy!
I've just emailed a friend of mine (who has a lot of experience teaching ESOL) if she knows of any good websites you could use. So will get back to you about that.
take care