Posts

Fales in Samoa are awesome!

One of the most amazing things about visiting Samoa is the beach fales that you can stay in for cheap. This is especially true on the South Coast of the main land and the bigger island, Savaii.  Read more

Traveling the world with disabilities : How is being a world traveler with Epilepsy

Many people look at me and think I am just another guy. I might seem a little odd to a few but to most, I am just another nomad. However, what most do not know is that I have a medical disability. I am 100% disabled according to the US Government due to Epilepsy. I have a seizure disorder and hardly anyone knows about it until something goes wrong. Read more

Having safe sex in Samoa: A discussion into the sex trade in the Samoan islands

The Ministry of Health in Samoa recently put out a report called National HIV, AIDS, and STI Policy 2017-2022. In it was some interesting findings from what I understand and even more interesting was the fact that the government actually admitted that prostitution was a problem in Samoa. (like poverty, they have always denying it) Read more

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Fiji Airways ends Stopover option!

Fiji Airways seem to have killed their stopover option according to their website. This is not good news for travelers and backpackers. I also do not think this is good news for Fiji tourism, either. The option helps drive people to the Fiji Islands. Read more

Samoa : Heart of Polynesia

Samoa is one of the most interesting places I have been in the world. The people are warm, the islands are sunny and it is a trip back into time in many ways. It is like living “off the grid” and what backpacking was like before mass tourism. Read more

Going to church in Samoa

Church is Samoa is a big deal. It is a super big deal. They live for church. Some might question how much it leads one’s life but no question that church is center to Samoan life. The Constitution begins, “Samoa is found on God.”

Come Sunday, try and get your best clothes on, clear out your day and head to the closest village church. If you do not have anything nice, ask a local what to wear. A nice lavalava and Hawaiian will work for a Palagi (white person). Church in Samoa is a touchy thing.

Be warned: church services are long and the preacher can preach even longer. Pastors are under the belief that Sunday is their day to speak as long as they want and as Christians, the people should be there taking notes.

My guess would be three hours is average. 

Will you understand Church in Samoa?

This will all depend on the pastor’s education and the education of the people in the village you are in. If the pastor speak decent english and he thinks the people understand english enough; he will probably switch from Samoan to English.

2933409Otherwise, some younger person will come over and sit next to you and tell you what the pastor is saying. If not, just smile and enjoy the experience.

Depending what type of church you go to, they might do more singing than speaking. Others have long winded preachers. Just go with the flow.

After church people will come up to you and talk to you, culturally, they are expected to welcome and honor the palagi (white person). They will ask you to come to their home for dinner. Enjoy the Sunday feast in the village.

About an hour or so, later, try your best to excuse yourself so you can enjoy your day. They understand you have other things to do and they will plan to nap all day anyways.

Anyways, Enjoy church and you never know; God might speak to you in Samoan.

Sleeping in fales in Samoa

Samoan have slept on beaches in what we would think of as “park shelters” for a very long time.  It works for them and it is quite the experience, a positive one for us. They are called fales.

Samoa is hot! Because of that and poverty; air conditioning is out of the question. The Samoans instead have build homes close to the ocean and without walls….Free Air Conditioning.

Alot of families have build some fales, or huts, next to the ocean that they rent out for $20 (50 Tala) a night and they even cook the food for you.

This is very popular on the South Coast of Upulu (main island) and the big island, Savaii. Depending where you are, you might have or might not have electricity. Make sure you charge up your Kindle before leaving town areas. 

Why fales are amazing

When I go to Samoa, I need to study and take time to read for my studies. There is nothing more relaxing sitting in a hamlet, reading my Kindle, listening to the waves come from the Pacific Ocean.

If I need something to drink, I can just go to the little store down the road and get a 750ml of Coca-Cola or King Cola. (a local soda) Being in the fales is great for everything beside getting on the internet.
Every morning, the guest will bring you a breakfast. It will be some fruit, toast and tea. It is not a buffet line but this is Samoa, after all. Around noon and in the early evening, they will serve you a Samoan dinner. It might look weird but Samoans love their food. In fact, food is a center piece of culture there.

I think I had more hot tea staying in fales in Samoa than I have had in my life. They love tea. It is nice to cleanse your system with it for a few days though. Bring a box of tea bags from Apia might be a smart move.

Bring a light jacket!

Late at night, the wind can get really chilly. You will be glad you had a light jacket or bring a blanket. For the most part, you might not need it but you will be glad you did….especially if it rains. Samoan downpours are not light showers most of the time.

 

Village life in Samoa

Going to a Samoan village can be quite the educational encounter. You can learn alot about a culture that is basically untouched by Western ideals for the most part.

Note: this article is written in the context of (Western) Samoa, not American Samoa. The experience would differ a little.

What is life like in a Samoan village?

Samoans are amazing people. If you come into a village; there is a chance they will offer you tea (Commonwealth influence) and some Bananas. They would love to just sit down and talk to you. They will do their best with English so don’t worry about that.

They love to get people from other countries. They will call you “Palagi.” It just means simply you are white. They do not mean it in a racist way though it can seem that way. Samoans are just like that.

Try and come around on the weekends

If you can, come around the Samoan village on the weekend and you can have to To’ona’i. This is like a weekly Thanksgiving dinner for us. It is quite the operation.

Here is a great video from the Food Network about it.

It is quite an amazing feast. You will love it. It is mostly Samoan food but you might just find some western food slip on the table. I have saw Jello and Fried Chicken as well as the Taro.

You will love it. 

Enjoy the time and remember this is not the West. Tradition is you always take off your shoes at a door of a fale, always cross your legs and make sure you honor the presence of the older men in a room. Otherwise, you should be good to go.

Afterwards, just grab your tablet and do some reading on Sunday afternoon! But be careful with your Kindle, Samoans love devices. Really, they do….alot. Just a word to the wise.