Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A dedicated follower of (my) fashion

A couple of days ago I noticed that some of my clothes were missing. Some shorts and maybe a t-shirt or two. Someone had taken them from my clothes line. It's not that big a deal; clothes can be easily replaced. I didn't think that much of it.

This morning, as I left for work in a taxi (I'd missed the bus), I saw the village security guard (all villages with government housing employ security guards) walking down the road in a nice t-shirt and what looked like a comfortable pair of shorts. My t-shirt and shorts. I had to say something.

I asked the taxi driver (pictured here) to stop the car and I hopped out to have a chat with the man. I enquired as to why he was casually walking around in my clothes. Thanks to my poor command of Samoan and his equally poor command of English, we didn't make much progress. At just the right moment, my taxi driver stepped out of the car and proceeded to give the security guard what seemed like a fair bollocking. A hasty conversation ensued and finally, with smiles all around, claps on the back and handshakes, we parted ways.

Back in the taxi and somewhat bewildered, I asked the driver what had just transpired. He assured me that the security guard would wash and return my clothes tomorrow. It seems his threat of taking me immediately to the police (!) seems to have carried some weight in the conversation. Fair enough.

Still, my driver was not satisfied. He drove us down to the fale owned by the pulenu'u of my village to see if he was around. I assured him that it was unnecessary and that I would talk to my "landlord". Satisfied, he proceeded to drive me to my destination.

So, it seems that (at least some of) my clothes may be coming back to me after all. A pleasant surprise. I also take heart in the knowledge that at least one person out there approves of my taste in clothing. Result!

And as for the taxi driver, Fa'apine, well he's a legend. He stepped in to help me without a moment's hesitation. A typical demonstration of the amazing attitude of the overwhelming majority of people I've met in my time here. Fa'apine; fa'afetai tele lava sole. Ou te fa'amoemoe o lau Eagles e tatau ona manu malo i le vaiaso fou!

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