The two stories

Wedding Cakes - a Samoan speciality

Wedding Cakes – a Samoan speciality!

A while back, a friendly ex-pat Samoan traveler helped explain the essence of Samoa to one of our SWAP Ambassadors on her first flight to Paradise, “Oh your first time in Samoa? You’ll see, it’s all for show!” In other words, she was saying, there are always two stories in Samoa. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The importance of theology

Catholic Church Siusega

Catholic Church Siusega

Our understanding of God (our theology) underpins our entire thought, words and actions.

I have friends, one in Samoa and another in New Zealand who were saved miraculously from certain death. Their understanding that there is a God who saved them for some purpose (their theology) has caused them both to act kindly and extraordinarily generously to others ever since. Others marvel but often do not understand their actions. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Which Church?

Baha'i Temple - A syncretising faith

Baha’i Temple – A syncretising faith

A visitor to Samoa can easily be perplexed when choosing a church with the plethora of churches here, and the mantra that Samoa is founded upon God.

Denominational differences are strong and choices range between the Catholic and the Protestant and a wide range of Protestant options, not to mention the Baha’i Faith.

In fact most visitors (unless predisposed in this regard) are not interested much in theology and will likely elect a church that is recommended to have a shorter service, good singing and perhaps holds their service in English.

The theological question remains however . . . which church in Samoa is right, or true? [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Biblical forgiveness

Samoan armed police during the Satapuala conflict

Samoan armed police during the Satapuala conflict

The ifoga of the Samoan culture is pretty much a foreign concept to a Palagi. To offer and receive forgiveness in a formal manner simply doesn’t have an equal in the Western world. While our justice system increasingly requires that criminals face their victims and see the consequences of their crimes, this is still a long way from the Samoan ifoga. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Facts, Feelings & Faith

Samoa - a tropical island paradise - with a secret

A tropical island paradise that captures the heart-strings

They say that the longest distance in the world is that between a man’s head and his heart. Put another way, it takes a big man to be able to determine his feelings and reconcile them with the facts.

Talk to most married women about how often her husband tells her that he loves her, and you’ll likely get a nod of appreciation. “When it comes to rugby or man’s stuff he’s all talk and yet the only time he’s able to talk about us is when he wants something”, is a common take on this. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The evil of Usury

Palagi Perspectives

Samoan money – like all modern national currencies a fiat currency

Samoa needs more debt “like a fish needs a bicycle”.

Power and money issues rest in the domain of politics, a seedy world that can be likened to a game of strategy, one-up-manship and make-believe. The devil offered Christ control of this world. He passed on that offer but others play this game well.

A debtor always justifies borrowing money. Who would naturally volunteer, “I’ve just bought a car on ‘tick’ but I really can’t afford it”?

Politicians would never say the words, “We’ve just increased our countries debt. There is no way the country will ever be able to pay it back, but we simply had to do it!” They’d be removed.

[Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Gambling – Systemised Stupidity

Palagi Perspectives

The meme that “Samoa is Founded upon God” rings hollow to many of our guests who question how churches can run bingo, and the government sanction Lotto. The hypocrisy is glaringly obvious to them, as it is to me.

We can all do the simple mathematics and know that when gambling, few win – many lose. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The Heart of Samoa

Gift giving - a pig at Siusega Catholic Church

Gift giving – a pig at Siusega Catholic Church

There are many aspects of Samoan culture that impress the Palagi. We look at the strong family relationships with envy; the personal attributes such as the sporting passion or even (dare we admit it) Samoa’s religious zeal; and the environmental differences like the housing and simple subsistence living. [Read more…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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…]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email