Saturday, December 22, 2012

Killing Two Meetings with One Day

Killing Two Meetings with One Day

Matai Meeting:

Untitled Men listening to the Matais speaking.
Sophi and me.
Luckily I met Tapu Ti! He is the Head Chief of the village and is an amazing connection to have! He invited me to a Matai meeting the next day so they can all get to know who the Village Peace Corps is. I sat in-between the Head Chief  Tapu Ti and the the second in command chief, he is the Head Chief whenever Ti is in America. Prime spot to be sitting. I had no idea what was being said, luckily Ti kept translating for me. They were having a meeting about the guys in the village drinking over the Holidays and if they misbehave they would be fined. Ti was angry saying to either fine them or not but they have to be consistent. They are always threatening with punishment and only half the time enforcing it. Once they came to a decision on what to tell the guys they brought them into the meeting and sat them down. After they were done talking to them we had food. Always with every event. A woman named Sophi came and talked with me introducing herself. She is an older woman and the only woman Matai. She speaks great English and informed me it is Fa'a Samoa to speak at the first meeting. I asked her if she would translate for me. I thanked them for the opportunity to go to the meeting and told them I felt very welcomed in the village and was ready to get started. The second in command Mata then said he I am known as the daughter of the Matai's and if any boy wants to date me they have to get permission from ALL of them! So now- the joke in the village is the guys trying to convince the Matais to be able to date me. I am okay with that that type of security.
I was very tired from the long long meeting and just wanted to go home. Sophi informed me I had other plans already made for me, my mom was waiting for me at the Women's Committee meeting. Ohhh boy

Women's Committee Meeting:

Just having a meeting is all....
Oh my gosh...
This meeting was a riot! The purpose of the meeting, I think, was mat inspections and end of the year funding. After they figured out the funding they used for the year, apparently there was extra, which meant better go buy something! While some women were out buying whatever with the extra money the rest of the women ate loafs of bread cut in half with jam. (again, always always food). They served everyone a loaf and served me my loaf sliced buttered with jam. I did not think much of it until a woman informed me it is Fa'a Samoa to serve the guest sliced bread so they do not have to cut it up themselves. I swear everything has a reason and about 70% of the time I am unaware of the meaning or unaware it even has a meaning.

Samoan dancing, luckily.
After eating it was time for dancing! They turned the music up and everyone took turns dancing. It was not Samoan dancing either, booty bumping and shaking! These are all women in the 20s to over 60s. The women returned from buying their treat and passed around a drink. They placed an orange liquid in font of me and when I smelt it I think my nose caught on fire. It was so pungent and strong of booze. I think it was pure tequila and a lot of the women were pouring it down like it was water! I respectfully declined and the dancing turned into a full on riot! All within what seemed like 10 minutes these women were fully on dirty dancing and trying to get me to dance, one lady was stumbling over trying to get more drinks. I felt like I walked into a High School party where it was everyone's first time drinking. It was fun but after awhile I was ready to get home and away from the chaos. I do not think this is how all the women's meetings are but if it is... oh man do they know how to party.

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