This is the 2nd blog post from Alex Rogers as a guest blogger in Samoa with the Peace Corps. Here is her first (read more)
A little introduction on Alex Rogers:
For several years (13) I ran a softball organization for girls to help them obtain their goals of playing in college. This is where Alex and my paths crossed. Alex’s Father John coached my 16U and 18U Gold team for many years with his daughter in the outfield. Of course, Alex was a superior outfielder with a great sense of humor! Till this day I can just imagine the conversation that went on in that outfield. At times she drove me a little crazy, but a good crazy 🙂
Moreover, I can not expressive in words how proud I am of Alex and all her accomplishments. She has signed with the Peace Corps which in itself shows you what type of a person Alex is AMAZING! One of the select few who I called “one of my kids” all those 13 years, I now have the pleasure of having Alex write guest blog posts while she is tackling this new adventure in Samoa!
Manuia le Kirisimasi!
Although I grew up in Tampa, Florida and never saw snow for Christmas, this year was still a White Christmas. Featuring the white shores of Samoa. This year I had the pleasure of celebrating Christmas on the beautiful Manono Island of Samoa. My Christmas did not come with peppermint lattes from Starbucks, decorating Christmas trees, wrapping presents or forcing my pets in unwanted Christmas apparels of ugly sweaters. Instead, I was in a fale (Samoan house) with over twenty people in my host family from Samoa, American Samoa, Australia, and New Zealand. This full house was enough to build their own team. And that’s exactly what they did.
Christmas Eve was on Sunday this year and the entire day was spent at church. You start the day at an 8am service, eat lunch, then return to church for another service for Prize Giving. Prize Giving is the graduation for kids; in this case the youth choir. The youth group performs dances and songs that they practice endlessly all month. After church we eat yet again and then return to church. Returning to church people are dressed in all white and as shepards to perform the Emmanuel. An Emmanuel is where the youth group walks around the entire island and sings hymns and carols. The Methodist Churches do this on Manono for the tale of when the shepards came and heard angels singing to the birth of Jesus Christ. Manono is about four miles around and takes about two hours to walk and sing. A final Christmas service begins at one in the morning and signals the beginning of Christmas.
Christmas in Manono is a day for games, togetherness, and God. The village comes together and has a giant volleyball tournament where the winners win money that goes to the team, the owner of the ball for new balls, and the church. There’s three tournaments for the men, the women, and the youth. Breaks are only for lunch, water, and to go play bingo. (If anyone ever wants to quickly learn their numbers in Samoan go to bingo twice and you’re Golden Pony Boy.) At any point of the day you can go to bingo held by the church or the women’s committee when it isn’t their turn for volleyball. All are welcomed at bingo where you can win money or the special prizes which usually consisted of ramen, eggs, spam, and vegetable oil. Because the day in the life in Samoa is not easy, they use the day as a celebration where work finally stops. However, this is after the day they spent at church.
Most families do not decorate their fale with lights and ribbons and gifts are not the norm, but that doesn’t hinder the Christmas spirit in Samoa. As long as games are played and families are huge, Christmas is a party that never ends in Samoa.