With the enlightening clarity of health (thank you, antibiotics that I DID pack), I realized that I may have left a small void in the information when it comes to the question of Samoans and pants. Perhaps some of you assume that everyone wears shorts, if not pants, or all the women dresses/skirts…but lest anyone think there are hordes of Samoans running around pants-less with nothing to inform your imaginations, let me me introduce the lavalava and the ie faitaga. A lavalava is basically a brightly printed sarong wrap that both men and women wear on their lower bodies. Women, from what I can tell, always wear shorts or tights underneath (the shorts are usually what we would consider totally appropriate to wear around without a wrap). Unclear–at least to me–what the men wear. I wish I could present you a triumphant picture of me wearing a lavalava but I honestly haven’t mastered the knotting situation, and I’m hot enough without wearing two layers of clothes–although I will vouch for the comfort of lavalavas when lounging around the house with less concern about accidentally flashing someone.
The ie faitaga is more formal, and worn only by men. It’s what they would wear to work in an office, or to go to church and special events. They have pockets and ties (versus just knotting the ends together) and are usually made out of linen and are a solid color, like dress pants. These are what all of my male colleagues at SPBD wear to work, although a couple of them swap out for shorts on Friday, which is more casual because CMs don’t go out in the field. Formal dress for women is the puletasi, which is matching, or at least coordinated, top and skirt.
Anyway, I wanted to share these tidbits, but won’t be writing a full post today. Instead, I’d like to point you towards my most recent post on the Kiva Fellows blog. Don’t be shy about commenting there, it will still be me getting the comments and responding. I guess I could have just re-posted it here, but that seems like cheating!