Sunday in Samoa
25 July 2010 | Apia, Samoa
We awoke this morning at 5:40am to the sound of church bells. Church wasn't in session yet, so I am not sure why they were ringing when they were, but I imagine it was to remind the village that today is Sunday. We attended the 8am Catholic service in Samoan. Everyone was in their finery, we did our very best with flower print dresses for the ladies and long pants and clean shirts for the men. We were a few minutes late, but were quite welcome in the sanctuary. The entire service, including communion and collection, only lasted 25 minutes. We think that might be a record for a Catholic church, but we aren't sure. No hymnals, but a lot of singing. People just knew the words by heart.
On our way to church we began to notice smoke from the cook fires; by the time we were walking back to the Marina less than an hour later the fires were in full force and a white haze had descended upon the town. Smoke was mingling with the low hanging clouds and the atmosphere was very thick. Sundays in Samoa are meant for church and family and eating. Some of the food is prepared in an umw (pronounced oom). This is a pit dug in the ground, lined with coals. The meat or whatever is going to be cooked is set inside the pit and then covered up again with earth. There it slow cooks for a few hours. In Hawaii they often cook a whole pig this way; not sure yet what the Samoans prepare.
Nothing happens on Sunday, barely a soul on the street. All the shops are closed. It is very quiet as I sit and type this at 10am. We are going to head over to the pool at Aggie Grey's and spend the day lounging by the pool.