For your good viewing pleasure – random photographs from a day in the life of a Samoan based voluntourism host, blogger, author, entrepreneur, tour guide and more . . .
The place is called Papapapaitai Falls, pronounced “Papa – papa – ee – tie” and it is a regular tourist stop for our guests and many others. A tongue twister until you’ve said it 100 times and it comes easily.
The uniform is a cross between a High Chief, a woman and a policeman (you can’t see the epaulettes in this photo though). One dude, a bank manager, reckoned it was a disgrace and informed me that I should be wearing something totally different, boring brown and like all other businessmen, but many comment on it favourably and like it.
Take a 44 gallon drum . . .
rocks and cement . . .
a bit of ingenuity . . .
You have a camp oven – bread, scones . . .
Here, some of our WWOOFers tuck into an el-cheapo pizza.
The WWOOFing programme has been a challenge – balancing a “non-commercial” service with the realities of living in a third world country where money is tight – very tight.
The subject of WWOOFing in developing countries is currently being discussed internationally as the traditional WWOOFing arrangements have been to exchange labour for food and lodgings (no money changes hands). This arrangement has worked really well in the developed (Western) world for decades, however over the last few years WWOOFing has stretched into the third world, and it is unrealistic for people who really struggle with day-to-day survival to support (in the main) unskilled labour that through cross-cultural challenges sometimes expects much more than can be reasonable.
I detailed our own take on this at WWOOF Samoa. Basically my thoughts are that just because the traditional way may have been a zero cash exchange does not preclude other ways to structure a business. As long as a business is sustainable (it is structured to self-fund) and that both parties know and agree on the business beforehand, then WWOOF hosts can and should run their own rules.
An experience that many guests love is the roast umu pig.
Pragmatically called a “Size 2” by the locals, the “size 2” has the best balance of meat/fat and is of course one step above a Size 1, which is about half the size of this one.
Cooked in an umu, the taste is delicious – a little “gamey” and slightly fatty, but with some very nice flesh and crackle.
And the methodology?
Heat stones, place pig on hot stones; cover with banana leaves and wait for 1/2 hour. Sounds simple!
The Samoan in the middle ended up in prison, one of many who worked for me, felt that they could take advantage of the situation and helped themselves to stuff they shouldn’t have. Happens all the time here.
The SWAP limousine in for a refit.
The limo now looks lovely and shiny with a new paint job, aircon fixed (again!!!!) and a maintenance job on all the mechanics.
How extraordinary. I got snapped on a visit to a school.
The children all made leis for our guests and I ended up with a few of them, plus a dog, for goodness sakes!
This is a rare photo as mostly I snap photos of everyone else and miss the shots.
A normal day at work – anything can happen!
On a visit to a resort in Manase, our guests were treated to a dance show.
Seeing that one of the dancing boys had “eyes” on our girl guest, I invited him over to the table. It was our last night on tour and I was prepared to risk a fight with the girl’s father as they were leaving the next day!
After doing the introductions, our young man was beside himself with amorous intent; our guest – quite the opposite!
It was a slightly humourous situation but all ended well when we whisked them all away to an “unknown destination”, never to be seen again. The girl is unlikely to ever want to visit Manase again, unless of course she has David Tua as her personal bodyguard!
Samoan men are generally just a little less sophisticated than men in the West. Palagi girls are often challenged with the way things can work here – very directly!
This is the coconut tree that costs $10.00 to have a photo taken on – in Lalumanu Beach.
You will be accosted by the people who live opposite the beach and they will demand the money or you have to GO!
Our guests usually choose to “GO!” as they resent having to pay for what they think is their right.
Major cross-cultural issues arise through the different expectations:
“How DARE they use my beach and my tree for photos!” vs “How DARE they ask for money for just a photo!”
“Rude!” vs “Greedy!”
Making Palusami, a Samoan coconut cheese.
The coconut cream is mixed with salt and onions then put inside the banana/breadfruit leaves and baken in an umu (hot stone oven).
The result is a delicious rich mixture that could best be described as a cream cheese-like jelly in silverbeet. Always a favourite with guests.
Sunset at Savaii
Sunrise and sunset in Samoa is often a double affair with clouds on the horizon common. The sun can set into the clouds and then set again into the sea.
The same thing in reverse in the morning.
Joe Annandale, owner of Sinalei Resort, loves to play a guitar or ukelele. Here he is posing in the sun on his Resort’s verandah.
Samoan Beaches are all privately owned, so you have to stay at a Resort (or Beach Fale) or ask permission and pay for the day.
Say No to Rape and Indecent Acts – OMG!
A while back, these yellow signs popped up all over both islands. No doubt another “programme” sponsored by an international agency, my prediction is that they actually had 100x more impact on the visiting tourists (all negative of course) than any influence on entrenched and unwanted local behaviour.
It was one of the dumbest decisions I’ve seen in Samoa, apart from increasing foreign debt, selling off the entire .ws namespace to a private company in 1999 for a pittance, and . . . well, you get the picture!
Bus and Driver – a local experience worth the effort. Avoid rush hour unless you want up-close and personal body contact with dozens of hot & sweaty Samoans jammed in like Sardines.
Drivers will decorate their buses with whatever they have to hand. Coinbox on the dashboard. Jandals and fluffy dice are compulsory.
This purple bus from Fagaloa is my favourite. The graphics lack somewhat but the colours are just my cup of tea. I love them!
Lemafa Pass is the way through the hills to Fagaloa taking the northern route.
A nice picturesque view with green covered mountains.
The central Cross Island Road is called the Tiavi and has a long straight road heading down to the South Coast
Sunrise with a marquee under the coconuts.
The sun rises quite quickly in Samoa – no long dawns or dusks as with all equatorial locations. It seems like one minute it is dark, the next minute light; the next minute sun.
If you’re used to long lie-ins as you wait for the sun to rise, forget it here in Samoa.
Wake . . . Up.
Taken at Siumu when Coconuts Resort was starting their over-the-sea-fales.
Families who have relocated have little interest in removing their rubble. Four years later and the ruins remain the same as they did on the day of the Tsunami for some.
Noone is motivated to do what would be normal elsewhere, and people leave other people’s property alone here. “None of my business” is the general attitude.
Exceptions are though when there is something of value, then it will disappear pretty quickly!
The flea markets are open 6 days a week and are certainly worth a visit.
Travelling to The Ninth Heaven we often come across cows on the road.
Groups can make for some great experiences – sharing travel costs and making friends.
This group got on really well and spent a good few weeks together WWOOFing at Camp Samoa.
A delight to host!