It started when we left the hotel this morning. Both Hannah and myself had a wonderful night’s sleep and an excellent breakfast—we were well able to face the rigors of travel. Our first part of the journey was traveling from American Samoa to the capital of Western Samoa; we accomplished this via the smallest airplane I have ever been on. I was so close to the cockpit that I could have reached over and touched the pilot! The throbbing engine shook the whole plane, roaring deafeningly, making any kind of conversation impossible. We took off and flew over the crystal blue harbor, the volcanic hills and valleys, and over miles of pulsating ocean. Somewhere in those miles, we crossed the International Date Line; contrary to all our geography place-mats at home, it is NOT marked by a big yellow line in the sea! Instead of Saturday, we were now into Sunday.
At the tiny airport, we took two taxis to our next destination, the ferry landing. It was an hour and a half drive through ever-smaller towns and villages, dodging pedestrians, pigs, dogs, and chickens.
Once we reached the ferry, we waited in the departure terminal—naturally, it was not air-conditioned. Kids ran to and fro playing tag, and stray dogs scouted the area, looking for bits of dropped food. Hannah and I were able to get some Lays Kettle-cooked BBQ chips; of course, we had to have a contest on whose chips were better, with Pastor Civale as judge. My bag won. J
Once on the huge ferry, I opted to stand by the rail for most of the trip, eschewing the air-conditioned cabin. There was a TV in there, but it was playing Australian women’s basketball (or net-ball, as they apparently call it). I much preferred to watch the island pass by on either side. Hannah informed me that some are uninhabited—doesn’t the word ‘uninhabited island’ make you excited for some reason? It does me!
At the ferry dock, we met the Civale’s other son, Joe. I hadn’t seen him in years, and he certainly didn’t remember me, so we had to get reacquainted. Then it was another long drive (2 hours) along the shore line, forest, and villages. Mrs. Civale, the driver, almost hit a pig once, and a herd of cows completely blocked the road for a minute. At last we arrived at the Civale residence. I learned that Mrs. Civale’s mother and cousin’s family live right next door, so it was a bit of a family reunion at first. I think Joe and Tory are going to stay up all night, catching up with their cousin.
Hannah and Mrs. Civale are helping me settle in. I get my own room, as the Civale boys are moving outside to sleep in some new sleeping quarters they’ve been building. There’s no air-conditioning, so things are a bit muggy, but I have a fan in my room.