Yep, That’s a Big One: Updates from American Samoa
WorldTeach American Samoa volunteer Bryan updates us about adventures and competitions on the islands.
This weekend Colin and I decided to do some hiking behind our house, past To’o, and last beach. The goal was to get Colin to the cliffs of the Northern coast where you can look West just about all the way to Fitiuta on the other side of the island. As we made our way through the jungle, a relatively flat area that is easy to walk, Colin started pointing out all of the pig tracks. I was acting casual like it was no big deal, but through the half a dozen or so times I had been out there I had seen very few. Then Colin started pointing out all the muddy wallow pits where the pigs roll around to cool off. These were large, and looked very fresh, but I tried to act casual so he and/or I would not get spooked.
We were about 30 yards from the cliff edge when about 10 yards in front of us 3 piglets popped up, squealed and ran away. Immediately I started eyeing for the mother hog knowing that she might look to defend her little ones and attack us. Luckily this did not happen, but as I looked back I saw Colin skirting away without hesitation. We decided to abandon the cliffs and make our way back to the beach, but this time we wanted to avoid the mud so we walked around the pits and just a minute later we spooked some more pigs. This time we immediately heard the distinct grunt of an adult pig. There were two piglets that ran away and luckily for us the boss hog also ran away. I looked back this time and once again Colin was heading the other direction, away from the pigs and away from me.
He states that once I said “Yep that’s a big one” he knew it was time to bail. I am not even sure if Colin saw any of the 6 pigs we stumbled upon. He made the right decision to get outta dodge quickly and quietly. I was more of just standing there, holding on to a branch and wondering if it would hod my weight as I would need to climb it to avoid the punishment of any mad pig. I am glad I did not have to find out. Ultimately, we made it back to the beach just fine and spent the rest of the day relaxing like a few beach bums.
A week or so ago I got to take 5 students to Tutuila for Speech Fest, which is an annual competition for the English departments from all the high schools in American Samoa. We were competing in four different categories, but sadly we did not place in any of them. Our students performed admirably, but we were not nearly as prepared as the other school who had been practicing since December. Due to our staff limitations during preparation for our WASC visit, we just did not have the time to properly prepare our students. Hopefully they will get to compete again next year and hopefully come back with some trophies.
The history departments across the islands hold National History Day for their competition. We sent two teams with two members in each. One of our teams won their category for a website documenting the life of Temple Grandin. They finished third in the overall competition that was between the winners in the different categories. The even better news is that the two students who placed for our school are both sophomores. One is a part of my NHS crew and the other will join NHS next year. They are promising students and one that all our staff enjoys working with. Sadly students as motivated as these two students are a real rarity in Manu’a.
-WorldTeach volunteer Bryan
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