Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day in the Village

We spent Mother's Day back in the training village with our host family. It was our first time back since swear-in in December.

Our host mom is constantly working and Mother's Day was no exception. We met up with her on Saturday morning at her shop. There were two customers there waiting for their Mother's Day outfits and heaps more to be sewn. She sent us ahead to the training village with two of the younger host sisters. We had a very restful Saturday playing with our host siblings and reading books.

Our oldest host sister had a baby girl in April. She now has two boys and one girl. I kept trying to convince her to take a break, to let me do some work or to watch the kids while she rested, but she would have none of it. I can see how she could go a little stir crazy. At home all alone all day with as many as six kids. It is hard for me to believe that she is younger than me.

Our host mom sewed Mother's Day clothes all night and finally arrived in the village at dawn on Sunday. Still not stopping to sleep she ironed the two puletasi she had sewed for women in the village and then set about making something to wear for her self. She discovered the fabric she was going to use had been smudged with dirt, so Cale and I gave her our present early. We had brought her some white fabric and she used that to make her skirt for Mother's Day. While she was working on that, another woman in the village came to her in a rush. I didn't understand the conversation, but I know the end result is that our host mom sewed her up a skirt in a hurry and our second oldest host sister painted a pattern on it. During all this hectic sewing the church bells have started ringing calling people to service.

Even though we arrived at church a while after the last bell, it didn't appear that we had missed much. Maybe we could have arrived a little later, it was an awfully long service!

Usually, in the States, if there were skits and songs and dances performed for Mother's Day they would be performed by the children. But things worked differently at this church in Samoa. I cannot speak for all churches. Instead, the mothers were the ones performing the skits, songs and dances. A river runs through the village and a group of mothers from each side of the river took turns performing. Once again, I didn't understand what was going on in the skits, but some of then were quite hilarious. The audience frequently roared with laughter.

At the end of the service candy 'ula were presented to the minister's wife and another woman in the community who was very, very old. Then all the mothers came up on the stage and were presented 'ula and gifts from their kids. Since our host mom was already wearing the fabric we had given her, she gave us some other fabric scraps to put into the gift bag we had given her so we would have something to present her with during this part of the service.

After that it was home for to'ona'i. After dinner we headed back to town. On the way there we made a stop to visit our host mother's mom, which was very nice. She introduced us as her Peace Corps kids. They made us feel at home, feeding us cake and talking with us. Minus all the glaring Samoan cultural differences, it was exactly like what it would have been to visit Cale's grandma for Mother's Day and made us feel like part of the family.

Picture of Mother's Day are on Flickr, but only for people who are logged in as friends or family

— Sara

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