Saturday, October 17, 2009
Last night we welcomed Group 82 with a traditional Peace Corps Samoa FiaFia. It was also Group 79's farewell fiafia. This is the last one before we start heading home in the next couple months.
This year's fiafia was particularly special for the girls of Group 79. Our own Rosie danced the Taupo. She was beautiful and her dance was amazing. She was desperately ill with a cold and sporting a fever, but that can't stop Rosie.
Lissa, Hanna and I were supposed to help dress Rosie for her big day, but seeing as we are all city girls with limited Samoan culture in our tool belts, Rosie enlisted the assistance of one of the hotel staff to help her dress in the siapo, fusi and headdress. My main job was errand running, fetching Chris's lipstick, finding safety pins in the office. Lissa fanned Rosie in the hot hotel room to keep her fever down.
In the end it was a little like helping her get ready for her wedding day. Instead of something old and something new, she had something from her village (the saipo and headdress) and something from each of us (Lissa's bracelet, my necklace).
The fiafia consisted of all the typical items. There was the siva teine, a sasa, the boys' slap dance and the Manu Samoa haka. I missed most of the dances. We were back in a trainee hotel room readying Rosie for her performance.
I have to give props to Blakey who organized this event. This was the first fiafia with a fire dancer since our welcome fiafia two years ago and that was a special event for the 40th anniversary of Peace Corps in Samoa. Blakey didn't get one, or two, but three fire dancers for last night. And they came with their own backup percussionists. According to Blakey she had thought she had simply hired one of Lissa's students to dance fire for $100 tala. He brought along the extra help and it was a spectacular performance.
I also have to give props to Matt who made the traditional fiafia slideshow, which shows the names and pictures of all the current volunteers. If I could post it, I would, but I can't. He managed to do things with PowerPoint that I didn't even know where possible. Then again, Matt will always wow the crowd with is PowerPoint, Paint and Excel skills.
I am slowly uploading all the pictures to the flickr. So check back there. I apologize for the small quantity and the poor quality of the pictures this year. First, I was helping Rosie most of the time (I got pics of that). Second, I was in a lot of pictures, which means I wasn't taking any. Third, the lighting was really poor at this venue, strange florescent stuff. Fourth, I have no excuses, I just sort of failed to take good pictures this year.
Posted by Cale