Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Faletua

My Faletua

All of us volunteers here, look at the life of a pastor and the pastor’s wife as living in luxury.  They always seem to have much money and great food.  I think of them as  the only people who usually have a kitchen with food without having to go to the store daily.  They also have a refrigerator with things inside, usually more than water.  They are some of the few privileged people in the village who sometimes own cars, washing machines or computers.   I think of life there being plush living.

Of course that job comes with responsibilities.  They are always having to entertain, hold classes and do many other obligations in the village.  They have an extremely busy life.   Just like me, they have to be on their best behavior at all times as they are constantly being judged. 

I know there is a different standard of living from those pastors that are from bigger congregations, than from those that are in smaller ones.

But I was a little surprised when I talked to my faletua (pastor’s wife) at one of the smaller churches in my village.  We were talking about many things, and household appliances came up.  She mentioned how they just got a television, and were shocked at how much the electricity bill had gone up because of it.  It was almost too much.  Her husband mentioned to her about the possibility of getting a refrigerator as well, and she flat out told him no.  She told him the electric bills would be too high, and she was worried that it would force them to take out loans to pay for the bills. I was shocked to hear all of this, because as a faletua, I expected them to also have plush living.  I was wrong.

Just like how Samoans judge me when they see me, and sometimes only see a dollar sign, I was wrong in seeing them and thinking the same thing. 

I have a growing respect for all of my different pastors and their wives.  Their lives are a lot harder than I thought. 


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