A busy week on a tiny island

The dentist came to our school on Wednesday. Apparently the dentist comes to Ta’u once a year; if you need to see him any other time then you have to fly to Tutuila. Since there’s only a small health clinic here, the dentist has to set up shop wherever he can (like, in our computer lab) and sees every student in the school in one day (and several from the high-school too). That’s about 70+ patients in a day. He rubs iodine on their teeth and looks for cavities and then sends them back to class. The children whose parents do not sign the waiver authorizing the dentist to give fillings or pull teeth are sent to class and the others are placed on the “recall” list to come back after every student has his initial check. My kids claim that they brush their teeth twice a day, but the evidence suggested otherwise; most of them were recalled and had to have teeth pulled.

Here are my kids in the dentist’s “office”:

Our computer-lab-turned-dental-office

Here they are after the initial check-up (but before any teeth were pulled):

After the visit to the dentist

Later, they were called one-by-one back to the dentist to have their teeth pulled. Several of them came back to class with gauze stuffed in their mouths and every few minutes I’d see blood pouring over their lips. I know this is a weird thing to post on my blog, but I can’t help but laugh about the whole thing. They are the toughest kids I’ve ever seen. Not even the site of a mouth full of blood pouring onto their desks seemed to phase them. I just had to let them go outside to spit the blood out every five minutes or so. Oh ya know, no biggie.

Here are Save (Sah-vay) and Sitika (stee-kah) looking thrilled about their dental visit:

So happy about the dental visit

We also had the tsunami rememberance assembly on Thursday and a pep-rally on Friday. We found out at the pep-rally that we came in first place in our cluster (we competed with K-5 and Level 1) for the 9/11 song, the tsunami song, the tsunami banner, and our pep-rally cheer. The kids were so excited about winning! Erin filmed the tsunami song and the pep-rally cheer (which was hilarious because they kept forgetting the words) so I hope to have them uploaded to google+ sometime in the next month or so… After the pep-rally we had cake & ice-cream and let the students go a little early. Then we had a PTA meeting (all in Samoan, of course) about the fa’alavelave collection for our late-V.P.

This is our tsunami banner:

Sofala and Apuauro modeling the winning banner

Tsunami Day:

So cute in their uniforms!


The whole school walking to the wharf

View of the water from the wharf (where we gathered to sing and pray for those who were lost):

Yes that is a whale


Just our beautiful island home

Sometime during the chaos of this week I spotted a segaula (sang-uh-oo-la) in the banana trees behind our house. They are a type of parrot that only lives in the Samoan and Tongan islands. It is also Manu’a High’s mascot!

The Sega'ula


I followed it into the jungle behind our garden and took a million other pictures out there:

Entrance to the jungle path

One of several humongous fruit bats that hang out near our house

Saturday was pretty spectacular because our neighbors let us use their washing machine! What would’ve been 6-8 loads in the sink (and thus an all-day chore), was only 2 loads in a machine!! It was awesome! We also went snorkeling beyond our usual reef-spot, past where the waves break. We weren’t out for too long because the tide was coming in and beating us up a bit, but it’s like being on another planet out there. I really felt like I was in a dream.

After a long, busy week, I just want to spend the day today finishing up my lesson plans for the week, reading a book, and maybe walking upstairs to get some cinnamon bread before the store runs out. :) So finally, because it’s been such a crazy week and we all need to relax:

Can't image a better place to be after a hard week

P.S. Thanks to those of you who sent packages in the past few weeks, whoever you are! The boat hasn’t come for three weeks but we know that we have packages in Tutuila that will be sent as soon as the boat is fixed! We’re so excited! I’m hoping it will come on Wednesday or Thursday so that I’ll have something to open on my birthday Friday. :) Thank you so much for thinking of us!

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About Cat Q.

For three years, I lived on a tiny little island in the South Pacific called Ta'u, where I taught elementary and high school English. Much of this blog is a chronicle of my time there, and of the travels we were able to do while we were on that side of the world. Now, I'm doing a different kind of travelling in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia. I graduated with a B.A. in English and a history minor from Kennesaw State University in 2010, and earned an advanced certificate in TEFL while teaching abroad in 2012. I love Jesus and enjoy knitting, Atlanta Falcons football, and spending time alone with my Kindle. I've been married for 10 years to a beautiful bearded man who makes me laugh like no other. The Beard occasionally blogs over here: http://www.leapfromthelionshead.wordpress.com
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4 Responses to A busy week on a tiny island

  1. Amy Evans says:

    your photos & posts always make me want to jump on a plane headed toward american samoa.
    congrats on the first place wins! :)

  2. Jonathan Renz says:

    So it’s official, no matter where you go kids don’t like the dentist ha. And yeah, I remember that picture Wes had up of him reluctantly being the bird mascot. Hope to see the video at some point! That’s so cool you have a picture of a whale out in the water! I would LOVE to see a whale that close. I did not know your birthday was so close, HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY CAT!!

  3. Chadwick says:

    Did you send this to Dr. Contractor?

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