First Few Weeks in Ha’apai

So Ha’apai has one Internet cafe and I found it! Which was a quick hitchhike away from where I’m living (not too dangerous as there is only one road, but the road is awesome—it connects two islands with this massive land bridge that sometimes doesn’t exist at high tide during the rainy season). Hitchhiking is called Suto, which means Judo except that there are no J’s or D’s in this language, so when you hitchhike, you do it with a Judo chop.

So I’m living with this awesome family—six children, five living there. There aren’t really any doors to the house except to my room, although there are things that act as doors that you can keep closed with a nail, but there is often chickens, cats, bugs, mokos (the lizards that croak really loudly) wandering through. Dogs, pigs and goats have to stay outside. I get a bed, but everyone else in the family seems content simply sleeping on the floor or in the shed outside where they cook over coconut shell fires. They are the best, although I’m losing a bunch of weight as some meals consist of flour, water and coconut mixed together, which just tastes like flour, or pig fat gravy, which is disgusting in concept, execution and taste. But that is then contrasted with amazing fish, both cooked and ate as coconut oil ceviche. And the best meal ever which I’ll tell about it in a second.

First, things about my family: the seven year old cuts his nails with a machete, while holding the seven month old infant in the other arm. And I’m teaching my host sister the piano! Not that I’m any good, but I know more than nothing. Only problem is they are Mormon, which means 3 hours of church in Tongan on Sunday, although from now on I’m only going to go to the last hour. My host father seems like a Mamonga kaka or cheating Mormon, as he only joined the faith when he got more money teaching at a Mormon middle school than a government primary school, and he still drinks Kava, a big no-no in the substance free religion. But he is also the bishop, so take it as you will. An American missionary tried to convince me to convert, although I felt happy because he left our meal doubting the Mormon bible as I attempted to show him everything that was factually incorrect about potential past histories. Such as the white civilization in the Americas from 600 BC to 420 AD, and Christ coming to the US and Machu Pichu. He also knew nothing about Obama, so anyway…

I went to kava circle. I haven’t exactly discovered what the kava high is supposed to feel like, but you can tell that all the Tongans are very much so from their red eyes, stumbling, and raucous joking. Kava tastes like dirt water, I feel nothing, and then am hung-over the next day, so I don’t really understand it. Only men can come, except, for the To’oa, which is the woman who serves the kava who must be an available virgin, unless she is a Palangi or white person, in which case she is assumed to have had sex and thus be a whore. They put the boy who likes her next to her, which of course they forced me to do and subsequently tried to get me to marry her, although I politely declined. But it was great—60 full grown men, five with guitars and ukuleles and everyone singing amazing island songs the entire time as coconut shell bowls of kava are passed around in a circle. You only get your second once everyone has drunk a bowl.

But back to the best meal yet. I went fishing with my uncle, which eventually will be spear fishing, but when I went Saturday, it was only with a net, and we caught a few with that. But we also left a huge hook with a fish head on it tied to a rock. When we went back the next day (I didn’t swim that day, but my host father did—illegally I might add as you cant do anything that can be considered work on Sunday, which includes swimming and fishing— there was a four foot shark on the hook! Pregnant with four babies too! So I’ve been feasting on shark for the last week and it is AMAZING! Ifo aupito. The only other things I’ve had this week besides shark is lu cooked in the umu; the turkey tail version is damn good, although I’ve heard it’s illegal in Samoa because it’s too fatty. So food is looking up hugely, although I do miss vegetables of any kind…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: