• Christmas break - Part I

    The Savaii Part

    Two days after Christmas, the kids, John and I packed up and headed for the big island. We took our car filled with the smell of fresh bread and pani popo from Siaosi as well as our necessities for the rest of the holidays we were to spend in Sapapalii. I was very much looking forward to going away from Apia. Savaii is clean and I love how there is a feeling of community everywhere. I was convinced I wasn’t going to miss walking barefoot on clean, tiled floors and sleeping on a spring and fluffy mattress with access to as many pillows as my heart and body desired!

    And I didn’t....

    We got on the 2pm ferry that was chocablock with people, cars, suitcases, plasma tvs and other parcels and goodies that had been sent from thousands of miles for families on the big island. Home at Sapapalii was buzzing with activity. We were met by Nana Liva, Aunty Lagi, Petreliah, Pesa and Toni and of course, a massive feed.

    The week went by quite quickly with so much activity happening. On Wednesday 29 Dec, the family rose early for the bestowment of 10 Papalii and 2 Taimalelagi titles to 12 members of the Malietoa Gatuitasina Family. Each was deemed worthy of the title and had been agreed to by the various extended bodies or tino of the aiga. Amongst the ten receiving the Papalii title was John’s eldest brother Camillo who also holds the title Fuimaono from his mother’s family. He also is the Samoan government's Controller and Chief Auditor. Another being bestowed the Papalii title is Charlie Fruean, a true descendant of the family from the line or suli of Taiulavao but some years ago, this side of the family were banished from Sapapalii. The story goes that an accident happened which resulted in the death of a man named Saitumua. Judging from the older men’s stories, this occurred around the early 1900s and Taiulavao’s line have since then been excluded from Sapapalii. So, it was all quite emotional and life changing for Charlie that day.

    After the saofa’i ceremony, we all went for a long swim in the fresh water pool of Sapapalii and then we went our separate ways to rest and freshen up for the evening. We planned to go out for dinner with Charlie, his wife and family that had travelled from Apia for the event. Papalii Camillo returned to Apia on the 12pm boat back to his family and Papalii Henny took off to Sataua to another family gathering.

    The idea of going out for dinner was overtaken by the prospect of having a barbeque at home after Lepesia and Tuki assured us that their barbeque cooking skills were the best in Savaii. Frozen chicken was defrosted and marinated with John’s special sauce. Jack Daniels broke out of its yellow duty free bag while the rest of the niu vodka got lost amongst the water flavoured by orange sprim. By 9pm, the hot juicy chicken was being devoured and at the same time, a rain cloud hovered and threatened a downpour. Moeimanono was the dj and amongst the selection was some reggae, some slow jams but it was mostly dominated by Eteru and Nifoloa. Company was good, food was delicious, the music was pumpin and sometimes mesmerising. Judging from the laughter that rose, the alcohol was surely working its magic.

    Midnight crept up on us and next thing, there was some yelling. Nana Liva was back from bingo and she didnt win. The laughter rising up amidst the vocals from the boombox in the dead of night did not provide comfort for her loss. And neither for the sleeping villagers; according to Nana Liva. Party goers trickled off in a matter of minutes and goodbyes were hushed with the occasional drunk's voice breaking loose, oblivious to Nana Liva's commands to turn that radio off and go home and sleep! Time for my aluga but not to forget the panadol to cater for the hangover. Untidy.

    Thursday, Papalii Charlie and family brought breafast and a storm was cooked up at home for all. They were booked on the 12pm ferry and so straight after breakfast, we packed up in the vehicles and made our way to the wharf to see them off. Once again, Salelologa was full of travellers either just arrived from Apia or leaving Savaii. After our farewells were said, we returned home and headed for the vai taele. Cool and refreshing water for a swim, it was bliss for our bodies after a day of sweating in the hot sun.

    New Year's Eve finally arrived and by 6am, I was comfortably seated on the Lady Naomi III sipping instant coffee and trying not to breath when the dude next to me would turn his head my way and blow hot stench out of his mouth. He obviously didnt have time to brush and floss and gargle some scope. My mission that day was to head over to Tuaefu, take and record the shop's stock afterwhich I would then catch the 4pm ferry back that evening to spend the very last moments of 2010 with hubby and whanau. All went according to plan. Thanks to Phaedra, my ride to the whart only costed me ST$30 instead of ST$50 by taxi and with all the comforts of her conversation in her small, red and cute swift susuki. We got to the wharf early. I bought me a business class ticket then we headed to Le Vasa for a quick cocktail before boarding the vessel. At 4.10, I was seated in business class (first time riding in business class and fifty tala later) enjoying the Bee movie that was showing on TV.

    That evening, I convinced hubby that we should take Nana Liva and Aunty Lagi to the Sogaimiti Restaurant's buffet dinner for New Year's eve.

    To be continued...

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