|One of the many beautiful beaches|
After being officially cleared in, we happily caught up with friends on Mazu and Moondance and got the lay of the land, which included happy hour at the conveniently located bar at the top of the boat ramp – a great place to get to know all of your new neighbors on the dock. We were soon introduced to a couple on a Swedish boat, Anniara – Göran and Gudrun. They were thinking about renting a car to tour the island for two days and wondered would we like to join them and split the cost. Even though we didn’t know them, we jumped at the opportunity as the price was good and they seemed like people we’d like to know better. We’re happy to report they’ve since become good friends – though we’ve had some pretty competitive game nights!
|Robert Louis Stevenson Museum (and home)|
|Robert Louis Stevenson and family|
|Gudrun and I marvel at the roots of the Ma Tree|
|Check out that ladder!|
|Samoan's - always ready to smile.|
|Shirley, Taf and Nana - young at 89!|
After chatting for a while, Shirley asked if we would like to join them for their Sunday dinner the next day. Her father and mother would be home from the city and she would love for us to meet them. Of course we jumped at the opportunity as getting a chance to meet families and learn more about their culture is what doing a trip like this is all about!
|The Lemalu clan|
The 3 pillars of Fa’a Samoa are the Matai (village chiefs), Aiga (extended family) and the church. Each village has Matai – which are the heads of the “extended family” and they have important duties within their family and the village. According to the Samoa website, there are 362 villages throughout the Western Samoa islands and over 18,000 Matai! Aiga is huge here - with a definite structure of respect, with elders garnering the most respect. It's not unusual for many family members to live under one roof, or for siblings to take care of each others kids. Everything revolves around family, church and village life.
|Where all the big decisions are made!|
Another reason we decided to stay a little longer in Apia is that the annual Teuila Festival was set to begin just days after our arrival. This festival is a huge attraction for the island, with lots of competitions, singing and fire dancing to behold – definitely worth staying for. One of my favorite things about Samoa is how interested the people are in greeting and learning about where you are from, but also how willing they are to share their cultural heritage. There was even a “Cultural Village” where you could learn about the history and customs of their society – including food, carvings, tapa making, tattooing and more. It was fascinating and all free!
|Pe'a tattooing - not for the faint of heart!|
|Check out those tattooing instruments - yikes!|
|Finished Tapa Paintings|
We were also highly fascinated to learn the complete process involved in making tapa cloths – something we had actually purchased in the Marquesas – basically paintings done on “cloth” made from specific trees. After watching this process from start to finish, we had a much greater respect for the work involved and felt amazed to have bought ours for what seems like a song considering what is involved!
|Cutting the bark off the tree|
As you can likely tell from the length of this post, we just can’t say enough about Western Samoa and how impressed we were with the people, the landscape, and the importance of family, morals and traditions in this amazing society. I would highly recommend a visit to these wonderful islands if you ever get the chance.
|Thanks for all the smiles Samoa!|