Hello to all following the journey of S-282! This is your first student blog post, I hope you’re excited. We are currently still docked in Pago Pago, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t action on board. We spent all of yesterday learning our way around the ship and all that we will have to do on board when we are underway. That includes watch expectations, chores, how to properly use the heads (a very important skill that is crucial to the survival of all on board), and many many other important things.
Today we had the wonderful opportunity to spend the day with Su’a and Reg, two Samoan artists who generously welcomed us into their home for an umu, or traditional Samoan cookout. The day began with the shucking, chopping, and scraping of a massive pile of coconuts. These coconuts would soon become coconut milk and the base of many dishes for our meal. There were many important components to making this meal and everyone played a significant role, whether they were out by the umu with Su’a, or in the kitchen with Reg making dishes like green papaya salad. Both Su’a and Reg fostered a strong sense of community as they shared their home with us. They had us pick up leaves from their farm that would be used to flavor the meat and sides, let us love on all nine of their dogs, and shared their stories and art with us. Reg showed us the incredible art of tapa making, while Su’a shared with us the meaning and process of his tattoo artistry. Both of these art forms use traditional patterns that represent all aspects of Samoan life. Both Su’a and Reg explained that these art forms are permanent reminders of Samoan culture that honor their history and share the stories of their owners’ lives.
After they shared their art with us, it was time for the feast! We all ate our weight in the delicious food that we had made. It was that good, I kid you not. Su’a then showed us the canoe he had made for his family using the traditional methods of Polynesian navigators. We then left their home with full bellies, the sharing of many hugs, and a newfound sense of Samoan culture. All in all, it was an incredible day filled with learning, food, and community.
- Lizzy Hinman, A-Watch, Grinnell College