If you’ve been following my Peace Corps journey, you may have noticed that a common theme with local events is that usually none of the asits (myself included) have any idea what is going on ahead of time. All of us have the following conversation with a Kosraean in some form or another:
Asit: I hear there are going to be events for *insert holiday here *
Kosraean: Yes, it will be fun. Make sure you come.
Asit: Great, when will that be taking place?
Kosraean: I think 8. Hmm. Maybe 9.
That might seem like a semi-straightforward answer, except for the fact that nothing in Kosrae happens before about 10 am. Then begins the game of guessing just how late things will be kicking off.
We eagerly try to corner Kosraeans into giving us exact times and dates, yet continue to fail helplessly. The funny thing is we are so far removed from our schedule-obsessed first world, but still can’t seem to drop the habit of needing to know exactly what is happening and when.
On Thursday, September 5th, a couple of local farmers were selling vegetables from 10-11 am. As far as I have been able to discern, that was the extent of Thursday’s events. Friday morning around 8- or maybe it was 9?- the different neighborhoods of Lelu gathered in uniform at my school for races and games. My neighborhood, Sea Siders, got decked out in actual uniform –matching skirts and shirts- while the others wore their neighborhood color. It is a sweet coincidence that Sea Siders and UO share the color green. I had the perfect water bottle, sunglasses, and fan for the occasion.
It was kind of like a field day for adults. There were multiple heats of footraces for men, women and teens. I also got roped into competing for Sea Siders in a game called “Pass Ball” in which teams of 10 work to pass a softball down the line without using their hands. This is done by holding it between your chest and chin, moving in for a close hug, and hoping your partner doesn’t drop the ball. As the token asit for Sea Siders, I was designated the role of 1st in line. “What happens if the ball falls?” I asked my teammates. “We lose.” Haha, that’s straightforward enough. Let me tell you guys though, I think I found my calling. I was totally born to play Pass Ball. Not only did my team come in first place, but we all won a bag of sugar! Okay, okay. If I’m being honest, everyone that participated in every event ‘won’ a participatory bag of sugar. Since I ran in the footraces, I actually went home with 2 that day.
Saturday was the day for water events, and because it was hot as hell on Friday, it was, of course rainy and windy on Saturday. The canoe races were quick, more like canoe sprints. They were also a little bit harder to follow because contestants weren’t as dedicated to their uniforms as they had been the previous day. My friends Liz and Lindsay competed for the Pansre neighborhood, but I was too much of a wimp to get in the water.
As far as I can tell, there was never really a “winner” of the games. Never mind though, because my neighborhood has proclaimed themselves the champion, and we’re having a picnic at the end of the month to celebrate. Haha, I like the way these people think.