Thursday, October 12, 2006

Family Gathering

Last night we went to a traditional Samoan family meeting. Families and villages are very important to Samoan custom, and the family will meet at various times as a large body (sometimes several families will meet in the "extended" family) in the "fale" (pronounced "fa-le"), which are large outdoor meeting areas right in front of the home. A traditional fale has a roof to protect from the elements, which is upheld by wooden beams around the sides. There are no walls, however.

This particular meeting was held to support our friend and fellow ward member Phil Pili, who is running for a second term in the Fono (Legislature). Family of the homeowner and friends and supporters of Phil were in attendance. Phil represents a district on the west side of Tutuila, which is the main island of American Samoa (the one on which we live). In fact, I believe the district includes Tafuna, the village where we live.

Much to our surprise, we were treated like honored guests. There was a big meal before the meeting, which included many different cooked meats, raw fish, salad, and taro (a potato-like vegetable). The family insisted that we eat first, even providing us with a table and coconut drinks (we drank the coconut milk straight from the coconut), even though most of the people in attendance did not have a table or a coconut drink. I don't think I've developed much of a taste for Samoan food yet; it is rather bland and extremely starchy. I'd much rather eat Asian foods, particularly Korean selections.

Anyway, it was interesting. The whole meeting was in Samoan, or rather, "Samoanglish." Samoans have a knack for speaking in Samoan interspersed with English, similar to when Hispanics speak Spanish interspersed with English ("Spanglish"). I made up "Samoanglish," and the term probably won't catch on due to its difficulty in pronunciation.


Mindy P. said...

Hey guys! We just found your blog. It's so good to see you guys doing well. You went from freezing to warm and beautiful. We're now in Utah after graduating.