Last week I participated in the Pacific Water and Wastes Association's annual conference here in A.S. It was a great chance for me to meet folks from around the Pacific region and get a more "touristy" view of this island. In preparation for the conference I had to wear the appropriate apparel, which meant putting on a skirt or a ee-ah-fah-tanna (that's how you pronounce it and I have no idea how to spell it).
To kick things off I got to attend a kava ceremony. Kava is a root that grows in the Pacific region which is dried, ground up, then mixed with water and filtered producing a muddy water to drink. It has a bitter taste and a slight numbing effect on your mouth and produces a subtle relaxing feeling. On the Samoan islands kava ceremonies are reserved for major events or to welcome important visitors. On some other islands, Fiji in particular, kava is drunken quiet frequently. The kava ceremony is always held in a fale and on this occasion was in one of the larger fales near Pago Pago.
This conference was a pretty big deal here and the "big chiefs" were in attendance, as well as the Governor. Big chiefs are the dudes with no shirts on. The ceremony consisted of a lot of yelling in Samoan, followed by the waving, collecting and distribution of large Kava roots. Unfortunately none of the ceremony was translated nor was any of the significance explained.
After some more yelling a kava bowl was brought forth along with some younger men and a women in traditional clothing. They simulated the preparation of Kava and then it was passed out the pre-prepared drink in a coconut shell (just one) to all the distinguished guest. I was not one of them.
I did however get to sample some Kava later that day. After several presentations in our conference hall the guys from Fiji got bored and made their own kava in the back of the hall.
The conference ran for 3 days, I gave a small presentation at the treatment plant and spent a lot of time networking. We got to visit one of the island resorts for dinner, they had a great pool right on the shore....
NOAH NEWS: Noah got tooth number five this Tuesday (9/16/14) and Mom and Dad wish they would all just come in already!!
TIPS FOR FUTURE A.S. RESIDENTS: At 6PM some villages have family prayer time. This is initiated by a "bell", which is really and old compressed air tank they bang on. From 6PM to 6:15PM there is a sort of curfew in effect. You will know this is happening because there will be men wearing matching lava lava's along the roadside. During this time you can not stop, turn around or do anything in these villages. They are extremely over zealous about the matter and I have heard stories of extreme over reaction. One former employee at my work had his car bombarded with coconuts for turning around in a driveway.
The Jaskowiak Family
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