Grazing the Corners

Monday, May 19, 2008

Special Day: Becoming a Samoan High Chief

I was presented with an Alii title, Muliagatele, by my village council. I knew, but the secret was kept so that my parents could enjoy a big surprise. I had a pulatasi (womans outfit) made up for mom, and a matching shirt for dad. For about 2 weeks before the ceremony i was practicing my lauga (speech) and going over all that i knew about this process so that i'd get i just right. Everything went off without a hitch, even my dad accepting the ava (ceremonial drink), which includes a short thank you in Samoan (no easy task!)

Muliagatele, is a title that has been apart of Samalaeulu and Savai'i for a very long time. It relates back to Salemuliaga which is the name of a man (this mans 'respectful' title) who was once a part of all of the villages that this suafa (title) resides. As i was told, he was the paramount chief of certain regions of Savai'i, Samalaeulu included. Today, Muliagatele, is an Ali'i title that is uncommonly used and although respected doesn't carry the extraordinary village responsibilities that more common titles do. Thus, they have humbly presented it to me as a gift of thanks for my service.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I've been to PagoPago, by 12 seater airplane, a ride offering magnificent views...
I've been putting togeather the new primary school library, donated by NZ Aid, Fautua Sagato and my Mom....along with the help of Pelenatete the principal...
and took the computer kids on a combo field trip with Sarah's sisters to use a nice new computer lab a few villages over....
as well as having a great time with my friends, all while conquering the Shingles!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

getting an A+ in its tropical testing phase.

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Fiji on a flipflop

Many places in this world the budget we kept during this trip would have been laughable but being seasoned PC volunteers we packed our frugality and made Fiji work on less than $500 for almost 2 weeks. We are learned in the way of Fijian public transportation, especially the car pool minivans which are the most inexpensive but theme park scary method available and employed our "throw a can of tuna in that" habit of cooking, which we did ourselves in our Dutch wooden clogs and windmills esq. bungalow. For fun we stuck to our "once you go cheap you never go back" approach and snuck into luxury hotels to satisfy our need for the high life. Here's a few pic's to put it into perspective and add a bit of color to the lives of those back home wrapped in winters cold white blanket.

Nothing like explosive goat curry to clear out the sinuses!

Looking on home base from the pool.

Sarah borrowing the royal chair at the 5 star worthy Outrigger Hotel.

A filtered look at a market corner in Sigatoka where we got our first glimpse of the ethnic diversity in Fiji.

Here's a very very narrow glimpse at Suva, its actually just the bus stop. We did spend a day there, getting Sarah some antibiotics at the Peace Corps office, drooling for two hours in the supermarket (its been a while), shuffling among the shops.

A real Suva butcher!

These pots are maid from a variety of local trees and are driftwood like in design. I looked everywhere for one that was affordable and ended up taking home a small vase, a shard of these magnificent pieces but a token of the art.
Our last 2 days were spent in Nadi, where we wandered and investigated some more glam hotels.

Single file taro in the market.

This is the largest Hindi temple in the southern hemisphere. It was being redone and got to take a peak at the new ceiling art depicting Hindi gods acting out traditional stories. No pics allowed though....sorry.

This officer's outfit would certainly be a national security concern in the US.

Finally we were forced to leave but got a quick photo next the a chili pepper poster in order to

enforce the well known fact that Fiji is "HOT like a CHILI".

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Just got back from BULA land (Fiji) on a turbulence jarred flight that left at 2am Wednesday Fiji time and arrived here in Samoa at 4am Tuesday. Did i mention that i can bend time!


Sunday, December 16, 2007


Here is a small mealofa (gift) to you for my birthday, which was a really great day. I did a bit of gardening, sign painting, and visited some of my friends. Later on Sarah and i mixed up some makeshift Mexican cuisine and a had a burrito feast!

Vaifale making his signature SUPER burrito under the watchful eye of Ava, a first timer.

Vaifale Sofe is finally building a new house. Eight kids and an uncountable number of grandchildren have grown up in this open fale. You cant send the kids to their room in this house.

Vaifale here with his granddaughter.

My poor pet pig Elvis, who i found abandoned in front of my house and tried desperately to nurse back to health is now in a better place, but we can remember him together through these pictures. This little guy reminded me of Leah, Sarah, and i rescuing birds from the gutter in PA, something i hadnt thought about in a long time.

Elvis's final resting place. RIP little brother.

Friday, November 02, 2007

SnapShot: What i've been up to lately.

Farming with the Onosa'i Society has been an all consuming task as of late. We are preparing for a big subsidy from the UN and are busy getting things together. Planting is the tedious part but it pays off when the harvest comes. Here are some photos of recent harvests.
Bok choy - Chinese Cabbage

Long Beans - some arms length!

White Sunday, the most anticipated religious Holiday of the year, occurs on the first Sunday of October. Its a celebration of the children. They put on plays and dances at church in the morning and then are served first at brunch (to'ana'i).

Some of my buddies before church (Congregational Christian)
Most of my mayors grand kids awaiting their meal.

My afternoons are spent with a few dedicated village kids. We play on the computer, do homework (sometimes), and hang out (most of the time).
Koso made a paper crane, which he later shot down with a rubber band gun. Sorry Mom.

I hope your all having as much fun as i am!!! Enjoy.