Saturday, April 30, 2005

O le tala o le povi (A Cow Story)

It's not everyday that one wakes up to a cow in her yard, yet, that's exactly what happened to me this morning. I had just awakened and was shuffling around my house when I heard some unusually loud "mooing". Now, I am not totally unaccustomed to hearing cows hear. There are several cow pastures near my house and I can occasionally hear some distant "mooing". However, this morning it was so loud that I wasn't sure exactly what I heard. I continued to putter around for 10-15 minutes when I heard it again. This time I looked out my front window and saw right before my eyes an escaped cow standing in my gate. He saw me look at him and then scampered away.
As the school day came and went I figured he had been re-captured. However, as I left my house on the bus at 3:45pm I saw the cow roaming around on the road. It's a pretty busy road and he was now at the University's gate. It's amazing to me that no one thought to return the cow. I'm guessing he came from the University's agriculture program as this is really close to where I live and at 3:45pm he was trying to go to school.

Friday, April 22, 2005

nothing in the oven

If someone out there can help me understand and deal with the angst I feel about the following re-occuring situation, Please by all means leave a comment. I just successfully completed 30 Sun Salutations (a Yoga move) and was feeling pretty good about myself when that good feeling quickly came tumbling down. I was leaving the Peace Corps office and the lady that sits at the front desk at the neighboring hotel asked me if I was feeling alright. I said "yes, I feel great". She replies, "Oh, well, are you pregnant?". I curtly answered "no" and walked off. This happens so frequently. It's nothing I can get a grip on. Last weekend I ran the longest I had ever run in my life (7 1/2 miles, thank you very much). I'm feeling pretty trim these days (albeit I don't feel like a Cameron Diaz, but still pretty good). So, what is it? Why does the local population continue to question me on this and bring me down? Any thoughts?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Maile Samoa (Samoan Dogs)

This has been a particulary rewarding and exciting week for a variety of reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with why I am writing this post. Please be assured that even though you might be scared for me and concerned about my well-being after reading this post, I really am happy and healthy. Okay, with that being said, I would like to write to you about the "maile" here. Maile is the Samoan word for dog. However, I would never use the word "maile" to describe a dog in the States or a dog raised by a caring and loving family. A Samoan dog is something that is unlike any viscious creature you have ever seen. Do not be fooled by their wagging tails and furry snouzers. They are raging, wild, viscious, unpredictable, terrifying beasts.
Samoans (in general) raise their dogs to be protectors of their land. This means that they raise them to attack and be really mean to anything that is even close to their property. They chase taxis as a cheetah chases a gazelle. The tear into bike tires as volunteers ride on the road. Many a volunteer has suffered from one or more dog bites. And now, I am no different. Last Tuesday, I was going for my evening run (did I mention I'm training for a half-marathon?) and I ran into a pack of dogs (at least 6) on the road. The dogs in my neighborhood are pretty used to me and usually only bark when they see me. But like I said, these dogs are unpredictable. The all ran towards me with barred teeth, barking and growling. I immmediately yelled "alu" which means "go" and usually does the trick when encountering one dog. However, this was not sufficient. They didn't run away and started punching and kicking them. But one was brave and bit my left leg. (Don't worry, not too bad) They only left me alone when I pretended to throw a rock. Samoans have a pretty good shot. So when they throw a rock at a dog, the dog usually gets hurt. They all ran like hell and I continued on my run. I wound up a little bruised and beaten but much more wary. I continue to grow here everyday in ways I could never have imagined.