It’s was a telling moment; not only in the sense that it bore a striking resemblance to the Vietnam War era Korean War movie and television show, but also in that the premise of M*A*S*H—madcap doctors using (often dark) humor to get through the atrocities of war—mirrors the sentiments among relief volunteers over the past few days.
Much of the humor is in the same vein as the normal bittersweet humor Peace Corps Volunteers use to cope with the stresses of being away from home for 2 years. We continue to make fun of each other for the same reasons we have for a year now—Phil for surviving on his Weet-Bix-Only diet, Supy for being incredibly lazy, Blakey for her back door compliments a la Jenna Maroney. And then there’s the normal Samoan “Where’s your girl?” humor. There was a sole on the back of the truck today who couldn’t stay off his cell phone. We enjoyed grilling him about the whereabouts of his down-low relationship. “Where’s your girl?” “Leai se mea.” “Ahhh… Malosi fufu ?” Chee-hoo!
Upon finding a one-zy in the bottom of the pillow box that had no zipper, the sole blew his nose with it and tossed it off the truck.
Some of the humor comes out of the tasks at hand. The soles at the Red Cross camp have a good time hurling boxes at each other, seeing how fast they can unload and load trucks. This morning sitting around camp, the poor kid who was brewing tea for the rest of the volunteers caught an earful from across camp as people began shouting their opinions on how much sugar should be added. It was funny to hear the tea micromanaged from 30 yards away.
Phil, Koa, and I found ourselves standing in the flatbed sifting through boxes unpacking tarps and blankets and pillows for specific families. Seeing us standing up there, one lady asked the Red Cross rep who was in charge, “How many palagis do we get?” He offered them Koa.
The best joke of the day was the stuff we handed out. From what we could tell, some Goodwill secondhand store took all of its gaudiest, most bizarre kitchenware and wrapped it up and donated it to the cause. Some of it wasn’t even kitchenware. Among other things, this box included a(n):
- Whole bunch of Scotch and Cherie glasses;
- Ornate statue of man and woman, woman’s head is missing;
- A slew of mixer heads with no mixer;
- A ridiculously small wine glass;
- An Eisenhower-era hole punch;
- Other more ornate hole punch which punched out snowflake shape; and
- A strangely shaped glass object, which seemed mostly to resemble some sort of bong.
“We know you’re lost everything and been displaced from your house. Our condolences. Here is a hole punch.”
Note: We did, of course, distribute lots and lots of mosquito nets and blankets and matches and shoes and mosquito coils and pillows and clothes and mats and cups and plates and spoons and forks and water and Tupperware containers. So don’t worry.
I hope you’re well. Pictures below.
Ridiculously small wine glass.
I was taking a picture of the two girls in the back, who were darling, but the women in front of them posed, which was also cute.
We gave these boys a transformer and a toy elephant from the random box. They were happy.
The hole punch.
A kid came up to Phil and handed him an ANZ bank receipt that had a girl's number written on the back. We never found out which one was Theresa.
Senior Red Cross Volunteer Tavita and man receiving supplies.
Toa delivering water.
Boy in bad-ass pose holding machete wearing wolf shirt.