Ok, so last year Samoa was hit by a Tsunami. I don’t have pictures, or know many details, but you can look it up for yourself. They also had 2 rather devastating typhoons (hurricanes) back in 1990/1991. Since then, they have not had anything HUGE, so people seem to be brewing some anxiety about the next one. We have plenty of action/preparedness plans in the event of some disaster so stop your worrisome thoughts back stateside. Also, our new house is a solid mile inland and up a hill, so tsunami’s aren’t a worry for us… unless it is the size of the one in the movie “the Day After Tomorrow” Anyway, it seems that hotels and resorts are hit hardest by these disasters as they are situated almost in the ocean. Karen and I were out walking in Tafitoala. Here we found one of these said hotels.
That day we had our own little natural disaster. We encountered Samoan quicksand. It is so elusive that not even the locals had heard of it. Anyway, it wasn’t very difficult to get out of because we were barefoot. However, it was hysterical.
In the picture you can see that I was deep in the sand, but it happened all in one step. Suddenly you are way in, and somehow when one leg breaks the surface the 2nd immediately follows. In case I am not being clear let me be very specific. Stand up. Now take one step with one foot. That stepping foot sinks in, quite quickly. Then before you stop sinking, your foot that was standing on apparently solid sand is also now falling. Each step was anyones guess.
A few other natural disasters that Samoa has waiting for you at every turn are; 1. Beaches are the rockiest, most full of uber sharp coral, and dissapointingly shallow… bring your water shoes.; 2. Milipedes, Milipedes, harmless little wormy things that curl up if you touch them, but if you step on one you will get a burn that you won’t soon forget.; 3. Centipedes, avoid these not so little bastards. They bite and will leave you swollen and in pain for 2 days. Also the a very unconvieniently difficult to kill.; 4. Cars on the road. Horrifying. There are stone walls all over the country, but not a single one is solid or of completely original construction. I saw 3 accidents in the last 2 months. Surpisingly speed was never involved, it was slow and a stone wall.
Anyway, I could go on and on about the little disasters that strike us everyday, but I think it is more important to highlight the kind of people that it takes to live in such a dramatic place. Imagine a politician from back home, a mayor for example. This person while in public is on their best behavior with concerned people paying close attention to what they are doing. My host father here was/is the mayor, but I don’t think you have ever seen a mayor like this. Both of these pictures highlight the entire country’s ability to malolo “relax” and not worry too much.
Here is a man playing trombone like a pro… though he has no idea what he is doing, wearing a popped volleyball as a hat, sitting on the front step of his house. Unfortunately you cannot see in this picture how close this is to the road, and how many people are in the road. He is also wearing a lavalava or a skirt in your eyes, but that is normal here.
Also, in Samoan, there is no word for stress. Maybe if we get rid of it in English, noone will stress either.
With all of these terrible things looming around every corner it is super important that people are laid back. So Karen and I have been doing the same. Here is a nice picture of us being happy.