It seems to work best for us to prepare lessons on Sunday, as this is a day where everyone is expected to stay at home in their family. So we like to make the most of Saturday. Yesterday morning we went to watch the first American Football match between schools. Remember that this island is only 20 miles by 3 miles, and the population of Hereford, and you'll appreciate that matches between schools are what it is all about. The schools are the main organizers of sport, and getting sport scholarships is a major way to get off island, so it is all deadly serious. There is a mini stadium, which is the only pitch that there is, so this is where the matches are. American Football is like rugby only with more tackling and less running. Each bit of play lasts a minute or so, then the clock stops while it all gets sorted out ready for the next bit. There are vast teams split into different squads who swop on and off the pitch every few minutes. I felt it was all a bit of an Alice in Wonderland experience. I guess you could say it is a spectacle - there is also a fine view from the top of the terraces looking out towards the breakers on the distant rocky shore.
For the afternoon we went in search of said breakers, which was a bit of a long walk, but worth it. We ended up at the historic governor's residence which is next to a bar which hosts the local night life. We strolled off along the rocky shoreline, seeing pillow lava, flow patterns in the lava, blowholes (not blowing much). It was a bit like a geology textbook. The rock is black, the sea an intense turquoise blue with white breakers - get the picture? We trudged some way along the coast hunting for a place where we could swim. Places with breakers are too rough and rocky, places without are too shallow as they are coral lagoons - you have to find a small patch of deeper water between patches of coral. Our patch was only about 20 feet long, but it was enough for a swim - one at a time so we could help pull each other out up the steep corally beach - very scratchy - we were glad of the surf shoes we bought in Pembrokeshire before we left! We saw some intensely blue tiny fish but didn't have our snorkel with us this time. We walked about three miles hopping along rocks - with no shade before we came to an idyllic spot with a few trees for shade and views across the lagoon and along the breakers. It was an exhausting afternoon so we rounded off in Kentucky Fried Chicken for air conditioning, TV, ice cream and iced pop.
This morning we went to a different English Church, which is Congregational. They made quite a fuss of us - the service was much more to our taste, the first half being very simple and from the heart - the second half was culturally challenging as the message was absolute: the value of the traditional family with the aim of producing children being at the heart of home, community and nation. Hearing how people view the family here makes it easier to understand why there is such a rift with churches having more liberal views. This English Church attracts non-Samoans, there were folks from Fiji and India. We will probably stick with this church and see how it goes. Kate