Archives for December 2012

Problems or Opportunities

Aggie Grey's closed for business. A problem but also an opportunity

Aggie Grey’s closed for business. A problem but also an opportunity

The greater the problem; the bigger the opportunity. Especially true in business, this truism also applies to any life situation.

Helen Keller had neither hearing nor sight, yet developed heightened sensitivity for other senses. Her memory and thinking prowess were unusually highly developed as a result of her physical problems. [Read more…]

Year 2012 Wrap-up

dennis-christmas-blogging-at-tusitalaChristmas greetings and a Happy New Year to all.

The year 2012 has seen out my third year in Paradise, and I think you could say that it has been the first year that I haven’t really struggled to understand the country. It’s not that I know everything about the Samoan culture, rather that I know enough to be comfortable with the country I now call home and realise that after a few years of some rich experiences, I really do understand things here. [Read more…]

The Gift Economy

A Volunteer with plantation produce - given, not sold.

A SWAP volunteer with plantation produce – given, not sold.

Samoa can teach the Palagi a lot about giving. The process of giving in the Samoan culture is well entrenched and deserving of credit. Like many traditional societies Samoa has operated in some degree along the lines of a gift economy, a biblical economic system if ever there was. [Read more…]

No, No, No Cyclone Evan!

Cyclone Evan struck Samoa last week, twice in fact, once from the South West, which did most of the damage and then again from the East, which really just rubbed it in. Looking around now with not a tree in sight (except for coconuts), I guess you could say that Samoa has just had a haircut – short back and sides.

Camp Samoa now has no water, no power, no phone, no Internet, no WWOOFers, no trees, no mosquitoes or flies and no privacy. We can now see the neighbours on all four sides, and can stand in the kitchen and see the lights of Apia, and great sea views! [Read more…]

Structuring a business

Chinese/Samoan retail shop

I’ve been working with a friend recently to help him structure his business. There are a gazillion concepts that can be shared with someone starting out in business but here are some take-homes from my recent exercise. [Read more…]

The culture war

Palagi Perspectives

The Samoan Flag – carried with pride

The die has been cast in the culture war between Fa’a Samoa and the Western world. In some ways it is sad to see the demise of traditional ways, but there is a strong sense of inevitability that the Western way will continue to make gains on the communal Samoan village way of life. No matter what is done now, the genie is well and truly out of the bottle. [Read more…]

Affecting Change

Samoa’s 50th year celebration of independence. A nation with a culture highly resistant to change.

In this Sermon from Samoa, I share the difficulty of affecting (encouraging/causing) change; challenge the basis of our desire to affect change and offer advice for change agents to-be, or in-waiting. [Read more…]

The Poverty Mentality

Palagi Perspectives

Palagi visiting Samoa for the first time can be quite shocked with the relative poverty they see. The flip-side of this is that Samoans can view Palagi as a source of income. I’m frequently told, “Oh, many Samoans just see a Palagi’s wallet”.

I can empathise with both views. I definitely know what it’s like to view a Palagi as a welcome source of income when I have very little cash in my own pocket! I can also identify with the shock factor for the Palagi seeing rural Samoa for the first time. Such a different lifestyle with low-cost housing, cooking on fire, limited job opportunities and subsistence lifestyles is definitely an eye-opener. [Read more…]