A Peace Corps Adventure in Samoa with Alex
A little introduction on Alex Rogers:
For several years (13) I ran a softball organization for girls to help them obtain their goals of playing in college. This is where Alex and my paths crossed. Alex’s Father John coached my 16U and 18U Gold team for many years with his daughter in the outfield. Of course, Alex was a superior outfielder with a great sense of humor! Till this day I can just imagine the conversation that went on in that outfield. At times she drove me a little crazy, but a good crazy 🙂
Moreover, I can not expressive in words how proud I am of Alex and all her accomplishments. She has signed with the Peace Corps which in itself shows you what type of a person Alex is AMAZING! One of the select few who I called “one of my kids” all those 13 years, I now have the pleasure of having Alex write guest blog posts while she is tackling this new adventure! So please read on A Peace Corps Adventure in Samoa with Alex.
Don’t forget to check out Alex’s experience having Christmas in Samoa here!
Map of Samoa
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It’s Wild… Samoa
During my first week of my arrival someone asked, “How’s Samoa?” The only consensus of an answer was “Wild.” My name is Alex Rogers and I am currently serving in the Peace Corps in Salua, Manono in Samoa for the next two years. Samoa is made up of four islands: Upolu (where the nations capital, Apia, lies), Savai’i (the biggest island), Manono, and Apolima.
A typical day in Samoa you are certain: to see children under the age of twelve completely unattended by a parent and more than likely carrying a machete or shimming up a thirty-foot coconut tree because I said I was thirsty, asked if you have a Samoan boyfriend yet and where is the palagi (white person) (pronounced pah-long-ee) going, really lucky if you’re walking and DONT get chased by the estranged dogs or pigs.
Ironically, what most people know about Samoa is that Dwayne Johnson, aka “The Rock”, is from here and that one Disney princess Moana kept trying to escape the island by going past the reef. Aside from these notorious facts and wild everyday encounters, people should know the absolute treasures of Samoa. Most tourist souvenirs in the capital, Apia, have the saying “Beautiful Samoa” written somewhere located on it. There is no false advertisement there.
Every view of Samoa is breath taking. You can experience fifty shades of blue in the ocean while on a boat catching barracudas and look over to shore to see volcanic mountains on the horizon. Samoan landscapes are cultivated by a plethora of colorful tropical flowers and coconut trees as far as the eyes can see. The thing about Samoa that makes it so beautiful is the culture and the people.
The Samoan People
You meet someone and they have the most perfect smile and will either give you their last bite of food or give you their shirt. Hospitality means everything to Samoans. If you’re happy, they’re happy. Meanwhile they are preparing a meal for you from the pig they just killed, while prepping the umu (outdoor rock oven), while doing their laundry in a bucket, while watching a neighbor’s baby, while fanning your food, and while laughing and smiling the whole time. Nothing comes easy to Samoans and you can tell they work hard and have worked hard for centuries.
Another vital aspect of the beautiful Samoan culture is singing and dancing. As a matter of fact, Samoans can sing and harmonize better than most acapella groups. Singing starts at an early age in church and is perfected with age (Religion plays a huge role in Samoan lifestyle. Sundays are for god, food, and naps). Everyone knows every song. The most graceful thing I’ve ever witness is a Samoan Siva (dance) (pronounced see-vah). Women move gracefully with their hands and hardly any movement from their feet. Whole routines are done flawlessly and are so enticing, you cannot look away. (Someone once told me the reason there’s not a ton of movement is because it’s so hot and women do not want to sweat while you dance because it’s not as pretty.)
This place is wild. People karate chop chickens for dinner, children do backflips into pools (with no life guard on duty), and they call eels, “catfish”. Behind this crazy island lies the most beautiful culture with beautiful people full of laughter. Do yourself a favor and make sure your next experience is where the wild things are.
These words are my own words and are not the Peace Corps