Halloween was originally a planned celebration in Apia, the capital, with current Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) that might have included boos and blasphemy. Unfortunately, due to logistical difficulties of being in a rural village far from the capital, we were volunteered to not only stay in the village for Halloween but to also throw a party for the village children.
While initially disappointed at the chore, the Halloween party turned out to be quite entertaining. The party was designed to meet the expected scores of children by designating game stations including: limbo, musical chairs, mask painting, sack races, and the notorious three-legged race.
At one point, the entire village lost power and the room, which was filled to the brim with children, suddenly fell under complete darkness. The first thought that came to mind was that if a fire ever broke out, we would all be goners. Fortunately, no fire ever broke out. The brief electrical suspense instigated an impromptu storytime. Scores of children gathered at the center of the hall to listen and watch Dan (a former Peace Corps trainnee now Peace Corps Volunteer) as he improvised a story that lacked all the elements that comprise a story whether it be a motivating force or even a story for that matter. Surprisingly enough, the story was quite entertaining if not for the kids, at least for the trainees. He somehow incorporated all the PC trainees into the story and made it completely ubsurd and incomprehensible.
By 9 PM the party came to a close as it was bedtime for the village. Here in Samoa the day ends and begins quite early. I often wake up around 5:30 AM to run before the sun rises and scorches my pathetic pale skin. Conversely, I'm often in bed around 9 or 9:30 PM as there is very little to do. The wealthier families, or rather the families that put television watching high on their priority list are more likely to stay up later at night. The thought of what this list might look like simply titillates my under-amused cultured-shocked soul. This imaginery priority list might look something like:
1. 5 kg Taro
2. 7 kg of Banana
2. 7 kg of Banana
4. 1 TV
5. 30 Coconuts
6. 1 bar of soap
I digress. Essentially, as most families do not have television sets and can barely afford the high cost of Pacific island electricity, bed time is quite early.