Friday, October 1, 2010

Registering for School (or Only in Samoa...)

In the United States, registering a child for school requires a plethora of papers of both the parent and child. Here in American Samoa, this is also true.


The biggest fear I had when Michael came to me was registering him for school. His father is a high ranking chief with many connections. I may not be any kind of chief, but, as a teacher on an island with a population of approximately 65,000, I have many connections in the educational community. This includes the principal, a counselor, and many teachers at Michael's high school.

I went to Michael's principal, Lentoy, to explain the situation. I explained the situation, including the fact that both Michael and I were scared of his father. Lentoy expressed concerns over legalities, which I completely understood. It was at this moment that Seira, a former English teacher turned counselor, overheard the conversation. She said, "Michael L? Junior's brother?" I nodded.

"What did his father do? That man is not a father, he is a dictator." (<3 Seira!)

Lentoy asked Seira if the situation was bad. Seira confirmed this. Lentoy then asked for me to write her a letter stating everything I told her in regards to Michael so it could be placed in his file.

Michael was successfully registered without a single paper.

There is now a note in his file stating to not contact his father in regards to any school matter, but to contact me, his guardian, instead.

Only in Samoa.

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