[Sidenote: Uniforms are a huge thing here. Any group is automatically legitimized by matching outfits. This is pretty easy when all you have to do is make a bunch of muumuus out of the same fabric. 4 of my 6 muumuus are uniforms. (Yep, that’s right.. after 3 months in Kosrae, I’ve already acquired a solid 6 muumuus)]
“Uhh.. we have uniforms tomorrow?” Apparently a whole lot of assuming had been going on, and it had never been communicated to me that we were to wear a uniform at the school dedication. What I felt was a stressful, last-minute operation was apparently no big deal to the other ladies. Yeah, it sucked that no one told me what was up, but this teacher had extra fabric, and that teacher would sew me up a muumuu that night. It was all to do be done without any effort on my part, which I felt a little guilty about, to tell the truth. By the time I awoke the next morning, my lifesaver had already dropped the new muumuu off at my house.
The 3 crucial elements to any formal event in Kosrae are food, speeches, and singing- in that order. Uniforms would probably be the 4th. For 95% of the ceremony, I stayed in the classroom designated for serving refreshments with the other female teachers. Community members and parents (and a surprisingly minute group of kids) gathered on the chairs and bleachers set up underneath a series of canopies. At one point, I was ushered to the stage- apparently the teachers were to sing a song. It was inevitable-being the asit Peace Corps- that I was pushed to the front. Kosraeans get an absolute kick out of asits doing typical Kosraean things. The best I could do was show off my supreme lip-syncing skills (as I had never before seen or heard the song we were singing), but a handful of people came up afterward and complimented my singing regardless.
Soon enough the program was over and it was time to serve food. Most of the food was set up buffet-style. Once someone had gone through the line and had a full plate, it was my job to give them a saran-wrapped plate (some combination of rice and chicken) of food to add to their cache. Two full plates of food may sound like a lot, but the meal wasn’t complete without a bowl of “soup Kosrae” (Kosraean soup) to boot, which the younger girls passed out to guests after they’d been seated. In preparation, each teacher and PTA member had been asked to donate 10 of these saran-wrapped takeout plates (this is also standard procedure for formal events). Our ceremony certainly hadn’t been lacking in terms of guests, but there was a huge surplus of food. As I got ready to leave, the other ladies filled my arms with literally 10 of these plates.