I mentioned a few things I learned from Ranger Pa'i from the National Park Service in my last post, but here are a few more things I wrote down in my notebook. The National Park of American Samoa is all on leased land, which is unique for national parks. Most are federally owned land. Here, the land is leased by the families who own it in 7 different villages on the island. American Samoa contains rainforest from the shoreline to the mountain tops, something you cannot find on any other U.S. soil.
National Marine Sanctuary: Wednesday, two representatives from NOAA that work with the National Marine Sanctuary came to speak with just my science classes. Dr. Michelle Johnston, a marine biologist, and Dalen, a Samoan who started as an intern spoke with my classes. They both did a fantastic job. I don't know a whole lot about marine science, so I definitely learned a lot in this presentation. There are 14 national marine sanctuaries, and the one here is the only south of the equator. Also, as of August last year it is the largest protected area with 5 different sites in American Samoa. In addition to being a home for many fish and other sea life, the corals help break waves. This helped save parts of the island from tsunami damage in 2009. I could go on, but I'll leave it with these few things for now.
Here is a photo of the two presenters with some of my marine science students. Took a regular one and then a fun one of course. Great idea by Michelle. I should have done a better job of taking photos of students with the presenters this whole semester, but better late than never I guess. The students really enjoyed their presentation. They were fun to have. Michelle had been working for the sanctuary in Texas and then was sent down here on assignment. Dalen was able to throw in a bunch of Samoan terms and relate with some of the kids as he contributed to the presentation since he is Samoan. It was fun to have them co-present, bouncing off of one other.
Homemade Treats: Last week I was chatting with a few of my students about some Samoan things I haven't tried yet. One of them mentioned koko Samoa. I remember seeing the koko beans in a store once, and they said they make a drink with it. Andry told me he could get his dad to make me some. I offered to make some of my no-bake cookies for a trade. Gave him the cookies last week, and finally on Wednesday he brought in some koko Samoa for me. He took my water bottle last week, and it came to school like a thermos.
I tried some right away, and I liked it. I saved some so Hannah could try at home, and then I enjoyed the last cup as I was working on my computer. He told me you boil water, shave the koko into the water, and add some sugar. Good stuff. Glad I got to try it made authentically by someone I know. I did actually meet his dad at parent teacher conference.
Andry also had told me last week they make breadfruit chips and wanted to know if I had tried those. Now that I think about it, I did have some quite a while ago one day that someone had bought when we went hiking. It was cool to get some and know who actually made them. Not only did he bring me a couple bags of homemade breadfruit chips but some banana chips, as well. He explained that they just peel them, slice thinly, deep fry, and season them. They use a different seasoning for the bannas from the breadruit. On this plate below you can see the banana on the left and the breadfruit on the right. I could tell they were fresh when I ate some on Wednesday.
Andry also said that his family loved the cookies. His dad really likes oatmeal and his mom peanut butter. So, a good combination for them. Yay, great cultural culinary exchange :-)
One of my VPs that goes to Zumba called me an exercise-holic today. Haha. Yeah, I guess I am. There are worse things to be addicted to. ;-) When we got to Zumba I was sweaty, and one other lady also asked why I was already sweaty. I had some free time and decided to do a little 30 minute workout rather than sitting and staring at my computer before our session. Also, last week I think I mentioned this little "Kick-Butt April" schedule I found. Just a little exercise I throw in later in the afternoon for fun. Staying consistent with waking up at 5am during the week to get a workout in before school. Exercise-holic sounds about right, for now. My fairly healthy lifestyle is a nice hobby.
Talked about goals/dreams in my morning classes on Thursday, and then Ranger Pa'i was back for the afternoon classes. Hearing her talk about working for the Interpretation and Education Division while she's out doing her job reminded me even more of that thing on my bucket list - working for the NPS some day some where. My dream job with the NPS is in Interpretation and Education Division. One of these days :-) Got a picture with her in her official NPS puletasi. I remember thinking how cool it was the first time I saw her in it back during orientation. "Some day, I'm going to grow up and be just like you," I told her. An interpretive ranger for the National Park Service.
Stopped at the store on my way home and found a nice looking little watermelon. I had seen them once before, but thought they felt a little mushy. Not true on Thursday, so I bought one. Good decision! Been a while since I've had watermelon. Mmmmmm. Lots of good memories on family picnics with a slice of watermelon in hand.
I also picked up a box of cake mix. I had been thinking about baking up some cake cookies and decided I would whip up a batch for my 2nd period students. They've been pretty awesome this semester. Plus, that gave me someone to actually make the cookies for rather than just myself at home. Even made powdered sugar icing to drizzle over them.
While I was at playing around in the kitchen, I remembered an idea I had to make applesauce pancakes. Then, I found myself wondering about pancake mix cookies. Made myself a mini batch of plain applesauce pancake cookies. Fun experiment. Most would probably think they are bland tasting. I like them. A little pancake cookie. Plus, I can play around with it a bit. Maybe throw some peanut butter in, or who knows what else I will come up with.
Onto the last fun thing for this post. Wednesday as I was checking the news, I read that the Language Arts Department was putting on a little performance night Thursday. Since that's only a 10 minute walk from home, Hannah and I went and checked it out. Great little night. Some really interesting interpretations of some different literary pieces. Some took poems and wrote their own music to sing them to... pretty cool. Also, turned out one of the guys I know from church was part of an ensemble that performed - Lucky, Richard's brother. Glad I read the news Wednesday, noticed this announcement, and made the little trip over there. Many of the performances involved some pieces related to African Americans and slavery.
I had a really fun week, if you can't tell by now. It's not even the weekend yet. Thursday night as I finish typing this post. Hope you all have a nice weekend! Don't let the April snowpocalypse shorten your weekend spirits, friends and family in the Midwest. Toodles :-)