6/25 The Polynesian Culture Center
The Polynesian Culture Center (PCC) is a non-for profit cultural center. What that means is that all the money it earns goes into the center or for scholarships as well as paying students that go to BYUH. This way, students who would not otherwise have money to pay for college, will be able to have a part time job and most importantly walk out of college debt free!!!! Now wouldn't that be really nice? I can't even image how wonderful it would be, although I am one of the lucky people, my college tuition debts wont be a monument, but it would really be better without it.
PCC is #1 paid tourist attraction with about 1 million visitors every year (it will reach 36 million this October, with the celebration of 45 years) PCC has an Imax theater, plenty of memorabilia shops, little food shops (they sell these ice cream, dipped in strawberry sauce with like mangoes or some like that). Also the PCC is divided into 6 villages, each for the Polynesian cultures, at least the main ones. The six are Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Hawaii. (At the beginning of the tour, each of those villages came and danced on these little boats on the water in their costumes, with a live band playing for them.) You visit each village and they will have a performance for you—this can be music, some of the things they do as a way of life, etc… then after the show, you get to participate in a variety of activities—ie throw arrows, weave baskets…
For my orientation, I got a ticket (plus free entrance if you come back within 3 days.) My tour guide was Mesa, a poli sci major from Japan with a really thick accent (willage is village) but he is a great person. As straight and narrow as he is, he was also a dancer in the show we watched later that night (so once again my stereotypes (us nerds are artistic n fun) were proven wrong and that is a wonderful thing)
We visited three villages—Tonga, Samoa, and New Zealand. I really loved Tonga. I have not laughed like that for a while. They had three volunteers come up, a guy from Virginia, Georgia and Japan. The man from Georgia was ripped so of course he took off his shirt and the guy from Japan was this short guy, looked like he was a grandpa. Anyway, the guy leading that portion of the show would beat the drum and the other person would follow. The Virginia guy took time, but he finally go it, (his wife helped), the Georgia guy was asked to follow his instructions and say what he said as well, by the third time, the instructor went into a long thing, so the Georgia guy, started singing "who let the dogs out" by the Bahamen!!! (oh and my new relief society leader is from Tonga and one of her friends taught me how to weave a fish with leaves!!)
Anyway, I wish I had all of this on tape, it would be really good Utube!! So then we went to the other villages. Samoa was funny as well, the MC was full of irony and quirky lines. Like he would say a word and translate it into other languages, one of them was something like OU YII so he said "who you" looking at" I know that is not funny, but you needed to be there. I learned that young men do all the house work in the villages. They are responsible for everything—cooking, cleaning… and the interesting thing is that they will serve dinner to their sisters, mother, and father first and eat last. The MC was saying that this has served his people well, and certainly preserved it, either way, I think this is the only culture that does this, as far as I know anyway. While we were there, he showed us how to make fire using two sticks, the many uses of a coconut (the shell cover is used as part of a roof, it is used a whisker, as a torch, then there is the milk itself, and the coconut shell itself) For some reason this reminded me of how we, Rwandese, have many uses for a caw!! We also saw some climb a coconut tree!! That is definitely talent.
Then we went to the New Zealand and that was inside a house, which was filled with details, it was unbelievable. The house are colored lines and the white one is the one used to as a symbol of life was supposed to be like the symbol of life, you start at one end and then the other end is death, but event the back wall is used as a symbol of life after death. I videotaped some of the show to give you an idea, but the color might be terrible
Lastly we took a 15 min boat ride through the center. IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Later that night, we saw the dance show of all the 6 villages put together, Tonga was of course the best!! There was also the fire show at the end. I am amazed by the performer's ability; he was twirling that think at the speed of light!!! It was just breathtaking.
I went home mesmerized and I have been thinking of way we could do something like that in Rwanda. I can almost image it…you can preserve these cultures, teach the world about them, provide wholesome family activities, provide work experience for students, and fund their entire education!!!