Note: Though I am posting these at the same time, there is about a month in between their actual happenings. This blog reflects events of the last week.
Asiasiga means a check up. Sorry I don’t have the dictionary definition: the pastor’s wife won’t give me my Samoan-English dictionary back. So it goes here in the village. Yesterday I went on an asiasiga to all the families in my village. The Samoan government’s Ministry of Women has a village based representative in our Women’s Committee. Her name is Moe. We also have a village mayor, yup, our 3rd mayor since I’ve been here. His name is Tala. The village has rules on the standard upkeep of each household - Spencer says like a homeowner‘s association: true. In Tufu you have to #1 take care of unsightly weeds #2 the toilet facilities can’t be completely disgusting (this is relative) and doors are encouraged #3 the kitchen fale’s roof can’t be leaking #4 there must be an attempt to grow vegetables! The last one is a brand new village rule and quite progressive for Samoa. Tala, Moe, Moe’s BFF, Ula, and I: the 4 of us trampled around the village for 10 hours checking on our 40 families. The visual check took a few minutes at most, but we had to stop and eat and drink and gossip with half the fams. I’ve done this asiasiga business a few times and I’ve yet to see anyone get fined for slight upkeep neglect… a fine that I’m sure would never get paid. Other villages seem to be more liberal with the fining. So, I’m proud to say 37 out of 40 families have some sort of vegetable growing. During training we heard horror stories about how you would never see a veggie in your dinner whole time you lived in the village!!! Hogwash if you live here. Long beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and eggplant are the most common, but I also saw radishes, corn, and cucumbers. And cabbage, everyone has little cabbage seedlings growing. The village and I have started 2 community gardens. The first one is at the school and I’ve talked about that. The second is the Fale Committee garden which is tilled and ready to be fenced in. The women’s committee received government funding for vegetable gardening: they used the money to buy tools, fencing for the FC seed garden, and seeds to start the seed garden. (I had a hard time deciding if I should include the following information. I know it would embarrass the village… But I decided to go with it. It is probably safe to say that nobody from Tufu will ever read this and the village has done an amazing job trying to rectify the situation. I think it‘s an important detail to include) All the seeds were stolen from my house. It was hundreds of dollars worth of seeds plus a sizable donated supply from the government and my own private stash. The only seeds the weren’t taken were two cans of cabbage that I had misplaced away from the rest. The whole sitch was quite disheartening. The cabbage seeds that weren’t taken, and ironically don’t flower/produce seeds here in the Samoa climate, were distributed to the village and most people have started growing them.
Concerning the missing seeds. A few Tufu families and PCV have donated seeds. We are on the road to having all we need.