Monday, December 31, 2012


Since many of you are still a year behind me stuck in 2012, i'd
thought i'd tell you what the future is like so you can get a head
start. I would like to type it in a list.. However i dont know how to
do that on a phone.. Things that will be popular in 2013... 1 poodle
skirts and 50s wear. 2 mullets. The party is back. 3 80s
movies..especially with the actor van damm in them. 4 driving on the
left side of the road (however in america it might be due to being
drunk on new years) 5 bouncy castles. 6 facebook on phones (i guess
its been popular for awhile but some countries just got internet
phones..) 7 farting on others..dont ask i dont quite get it either. 8
eating spaghetti sandwiches. 9 playing dominos. 10 cutting grass with
machetes.. I hope these 10 hints help and you can get to the store or
the hairdresser and get ready for the future.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy new year

Being that there are only a few hours left of 2012, i wanted to wish
everyone a happy new years. For those of you who might be curious as
to how new years eve will be ...i'll tell you about the future since
samoa is the first ones to experience it all. The stores will be
crowded.. Esp with people buying chicken go bulk for bbqs. Cops will
be stationed on the roads to make sure people are wearing seat belts
and drivers actually have drivers licenses.. As for weather it will be
rainy, which means a good time for family fun-which includes fun games
like dominos and watching movies. I hope you all enjoy your new years,
and are thankful the mayans got it wrong! Manuia le taosaga fou

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hurricane evan in savaii

We left for savaii well before sunrise and it was interesting to see
all of the villages with and without power. Upon arrival in savaii we
saw that upolu definatelly got the brunt of the storm. The rubbish
shelves were down and many trees as well. A few of the samoan fales
were down. Overall i am happy i get to spend my christmas with family
and running water and electricity.. Who could ask for a better gift?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I retreat!

Day 11- I retreat!
I have made it past double digits…We are at day 11 without water and electricity.  I decided I am giving up after tomorrow.  I want water to shower in and not to carry buckets of water up a hill in order to flush the toilet.
Last night, I became quite hopeful as I saw people working on the electric longer were the power lines in the river and dangling ready to strangle someone passing by.  However, my hopes were quickly swept away as I saw the uniform of the people on the ladders with the new wires were from the telephone company.  I guess we will just have to wait a little longer for electricity where we live.
Tomorrow, like I said, I am giving up.  I am heading over to Savaii for Christmas and hopefully I will return back home when there is running water or electricity.  I am really hoping for at least the running water as being without any water can be such a hassle!
Manuia le Kerisimasi!
Merry Christmas!
P.S. We have been using Chanukkah candles during the eleven days of no power.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Photo Blog - Cyclone Evan

Flooding in Apia Town Area

Flooding in Apia Town Area.

Pulu Trees fell down all along Beach Road.  The ones that did not fall are now just stumps allowing no shade on the seawall.

During the cyclone my neighbors braved the conditions to clear the road for anyone who needed to get past.

A fale that collapsed, amazingly, the roof is in tact.

About 8 men were lifting and shaking this car to get all the mud and debris out from it.   It was incredible how much came out.

Cyclone Evan and Apia Businesses

Cyclone Evan and Apia Businesses
Cyclone Evan killed many Samoan businesses, I think the ones that I feel bad for are the ones on the south coast that had to endure the tsunami and the cyclone.  How often can you keep rebuilding your business without giving up?  If it is exhausting for me, I can’t image those business owners.
Aggie Gray’s had to evacuate their guests as their hotel was flooded with mud.  I was told that the mud in the back reached up to my waist several days after the storm.  All of their back up generators broke.  Luckily, they have their resort in Mulifanua that they were able to bring their guests to.  They have had all of their workers coming daily to help with the clean up efforts, and excavators coming to get rid of the water.  I was told that they are hoping to reopen the front portion of their hotel on Christmas Eve.  However, just like staying at other expensive hotels, I would hate to pay the big bucks if you don’t have full access to all of the nice things on their property.
Mc Donalds had some roof and sign damage.  I think they were in a flooded area too, But I am not sure of it because when I walked around town the area was dry.  Several days after the cyclone hit, I saw that their drive thru was open.  However the next day it was closed.  I was told by someone that the Health Inspectors allowed them to be open for 24 hours to sell everything that they could before shutting down.  After hearing this, I am glad I don’t eat there!  Wouldn’t everything have gone bad after several days of no electricity?
Some businesses are open, however, be careful as restaurants may be open, but they may not have toilets.
Aggie Grays.

The river at Aggie Grays.  I don't know if you can see, but there are two boats stuck and broken there.

Every PC favorite store- KK Mart.  Finally reopened after 8 days of being closed.  

Roofing problems at MC Donalds

Water and Electricity

Water and Electricity
During the Hurricane in New York a month ago, I wondered how everyone was on the internet without power.  I was informed they did this through telephones.  I am so removed from technology that this thought never came to me until several days later.
A few days after the storm, a friend of mine staying at a hotel with a generator invited me over to charge my phone.  I was so thankful because that is my connection to the outside world.  I also learned at that point that the two telephone companies were allowing people to come and charge their telephones during work hours, which seemed pretty generous to me.  But all of this gave me hope.  I am not stuck in a disaster and have the ability to call someone to make me smile.
On the 7th day after the storm, the Peace Corps office restored power.  This meant during working hours I had a back up place to charge anything I needed.
Although I say we have electricity, it is often shut off for hours at a time without notice.
Although I keep being told that we will have electricity soon, looking at the power lines dangling that cars have to swerve to avoid, electric poles that are not connected to each other, and even electric wires in the river.  I don’t see them being quick about getting electricity to my area.
As for water, I felt really fortunate about my situation.  We bought bottled water, and ground water was flowing from the wall.  However, after several days of heavy rain, it soon stopped, and my hope for everything to be alright started to go away.
On the 5th day of no running water, our wall began to only trickle.  I spent four hours filling up all the buckets that I could after an exhausting day at work.  I knew though that that was my last day of having water at my fingertips so I wanted to fill up with as much as I could.
The next day as I went off to work, my husband went down to the river to collect the not as clean water and carry the buckets up the hill to our house.  He keep doing this task several times a day.
After work, in order to clean myself, I bathed in the river, hoping some disease does not jump into my body somehow.
I thought I hit the jackpot with my friend staying at the nice hotel as I could shower there…however when I went over one day, they had just ran out of water and wouldn’t be getting more in for another several hours.  Their water supply shrank considerably and were going to be issued buckets for when they showered to collect water to use for the toilets.  I could not image paying for that kind of “luxury”.
My river bathing continued and I began to feel completely frustrated with life as not having clean water and electricity can just mess with your mind.  I had begun eating poorly during the storm, as I did not want to eat anything that might make me defecate.  I was becoming malnourished and still busy with all of my commitments and just feeling so worn out.  On top of it all, I was not drinking enough and was dehydrating myself.   I couldn’t drink in the morning and during the day because of having no toilets around, and so I only had evenings to pee freely.  Sometimes when I arrived home, most or all of the water had been used up, and I had felt guilty for not collecting water that day, so I would wait until dark and simply urinate outside.  
Finally, I reached my breaking point.  Being unclean for 8 days without electricity was enough.  So many places had water and electricity, why couldn’t we have it?  I just kept dreaming of my Christmas trip to Savaii, an island full of running water and electricity.  It almost seemed too good to be true…kind of like a mirage.  But at my breaking point, I went to see (I guess I should say cry) to my nurse.  She said everyone is feeling that way, which I understood, but it sucked.  She encouraged me to drink more water and gave me rehydration salts to put in my water.
I have now reached double digits of not having water and electricity, and I know I can hold out another day or two until I can reach Savaii.

The debris in the river that I bathe in.

The bus station.

The bridge broke see the picture below.

A crack in the bridge above.


The Newbies
I feel so bad for the Peace Corps Samoa 84.  What they have had to endure while getting used to a brand new culture and new language is so difficult.  Like many others, they were not expecting the cyclone to hit, and did not stock up on food, and they got quickly stuck in their flooded hotel (their rooms were not flooded at least) before they could get out and get something, especially because stores were closing quickly.
On paper, they were supposed to be sworn in on the day after the cyclone.  Obviously that didn’t happen and they had to endure living in a hotel without electricity, and toilet water in only several rooms, and only certain hours they could quickly shower.  It is so challenging doing all that they had to do.
Their schedule was up in the air, as the day came and went for them to go to their new villages, and they were stuck in town feeling in limbo.  No one had answers, so no one was able to give them answers.
They finally were sworn in on Tuesday the 18th, and instead of being a grand big affair with the Samoan Government being present, it was a Peace Corps/US Embassy family affair.  It was nice and it felt good to see the 13 that had started training able to finish their training.
The next day, as their hotel finally received electricity, half of them ventured out to their villages, By Thursday, when there were only two left in town, they even had running water.
Secretly I was becoming a little jealous.  Here I was going to work each day, and coming hope to try to find water, light candles and water someone else cook on a fire, while they now had it all.  I was becoming physically exhausted and just wanted their lives!
I just had to keep thinking, I can do it.  I can make it.  I can do it.
Peace Corps and US Embassy getting ready to volunteer at my work site.

Peace Corps helping scoop the mud.

A US embassy worker helping in our office.

After the water receded this was still how high the water was a day later.

Sorry that Dan is sideways....a RPCV helping clean the PC office.

Cyclone Evan- Back to Work

Cyclone Evan- Back to Work
On the 5th day without electricity and water (that is how I count my days now) I returned back to work.  I had passed by my office several times and had a glimpse inside it, and was aware of the damage due to flooding and mud, but didn’t expect it to be as completely bad as it was.  We experienced a total loss of everything inside.
The Samoa Victim Support Office is located at the police station, and above us is where the police band practices.  Their roof flew off and part of their building was destroyed, so apart from the ocean that surrounded our office for a block in all directions, we also received damage from above as the ceiling was leaking horrible stuff everywhere.   I knew it had the potential to be worse than the Peace Corps Office, which is much larger, and had the potential to hold more mud.
I arrived on Monday, ready for the challenge.  There were several shovels so I grabbed one and immediately got to work shoveling the deep mud on the sidewalk in front of our office.  However, my blisters that I received on Saturday from sweeping muddy water began to ache horribly.
While I was helping out, there was one causality, as my shoes drowned in the mud and were never seen again.  
As it was apparent all of the furniture had to be removed from the building, I was given a new task.  I was in charge of a few volunteers and the unloading and sorting of office materials and equipment from the truck to our homeschool.  We had to sort muddy items, from soaked items, and even managed to salvage a few dry items. As much as we tried to clean, the mud was everywhere and you could not avoid it.  Being without water made it extremely difficult to clean anything.
We did have help, plenty of volunteers came by to help us clean and move everything.  Two of the groups that came were the US Embassy and the Peace Corps.  It was nice to see my fellow Americans helping out when duty called.
Not to mention being without water took away our ability to go to the toilet.  The only toilet I could use was a 20 minute hike to my house and I was able to use the ground water I collected to flush the toilet.  This meant that there would be no drinking water during the work day until further notice.
Each muddy day we went in the back of a pick up truck to bathe in the ocean.   At first it disgusted me how dirty the ocean was because of all the pollution, but then I realized, water is water.  I need water to survive and it doesn’t always matter what it looks like.
Being without drinking water, and doing physically demanding work, makes you extremely exhausted, and grumpy….So I am sorry for the people that had to put up with me because of it!
During the week, we continued to work on cleaning our office, trying to salvage files by putting them in the sun to dry.  It shouldn’t have been as hard of work as it felt it was.
The rest of my office had divided into teams.  Donations were coming in, and like the Red Cross, we too were going to the community to help each other.  Volunteers were assembled to help clean houses and hand out food, bottled water, linen and clothing donations.  It was beautiful to see all the smiles on the faces of the people realizing they were just about to receive relief from it all.
I know the relief effort is ongoing and we are going to be busy with it probably until after I end my Peace Corps Service at the end of January.  I am just glad that I get to help out now.  It is weird in a way, I began my service right after the tsunami in 2009, and helped a little with the relief there, and I will be ending my service after hurricane Evan crushed Samoa.  I can only hope that nothing else happens along the way…
The police station missing some of their roof and walls.

Our kitchen at work.

All of our office furniture outside ready to go to the school.

There is a mud line on the door as to how high the water got to in our office.

Cyclone Evan Day 3

Cyclone Evan Day 3
The third day without electricity and not seeing any electricity around as most generators had broken because of the flooding had warranted us to keep phones off and only turn them to check for a message and quickly shut them off again.  I had received a message that the Peace Corps office was having their office clean up and I decided to join them.
I was happy to see that a majority of the flooding was gone from town, however I still had to trudge through mud halfway up to my knees to reach the Peace Corps office.  We were greeted with shovels and brooms and saw that basically the entire office still had muddy water, or just plain mud about 2-3 inches deep.  Over a dozen of us got to work with whatever we could find to clean up what we could.
Using dishes to scoop up and carry the mud outside, sweeping and shoveling it away, and throwing away any damaged materials that could not be salvaged, it was gruesome and tiring, but we felt proud seeing what we could accomplish.   I had not spent much time prior with the new volunteers being as they had just completed training, so it was a great opportunity to bond with them and get to know them.
We endured blisters, but had as much fun as we could as the Peace Corps office became a giant messy Slip N Slide for the day.
When I got home, I began my usual task of water collections.  We are really lucky as to where we live because although we are on a hill, there is a wall blocking some of the hill above us.  That wall has several holes that “clean” groundwater was pouring out from.  That water was amazing as it kept us clean (which is something you need when every day you are covered in mud!), bathed us, was able to go in our toilets and used for everything, aside from drinking of course.  We had several buckets that I would fill and then call up to my husband to come and bring the water to our house.  It was a great system.
Cyclone Evan was bad, but I felt confident that if I could continue to get water like this, I can endure the lack of electricity for awhile.

Down power lines on the road

More down power lines

Mud inside a house

destroyed trees

Cyclone Evan After the Storm

Cyclone Evan After the Storm
Cyclone Evan hit on Thursday the 13th of December and hugged our area throughout the night as it moved slowly away.  The house shook, the sirens kept going off, and all around trees were falling down.  I stood by our window watching as huge beautiful trees became uprooted, while others snapped in half, and roofs just blew off houses.
The next day, I was told it was too unsafe for me to go out as without a radio no one knew if the storn was over because of the constant heavy downpour and strong winds.…so just my camera did and brought back incredible news on what the rest of the city was like.  Flooding was a huge concern for most of town.  I saw that not only were roofs blown off, but in some cases the roofs collapsed on the house, leaving only a roof.  One of the bridges in Lelata (or Faatoia..I am told it is in both villages by different people) cracked on the concrete leaving a huge bend on the bridge and making it impassable.  Cargo crates were washed onto the road to further block traffic.  The beautiful Pulu trees came crashing down on the main road.  Some boats were swept away and the rivers were strong.
We were able to make a fire to cook our canned food, which was a plus, because sometimes you just get sick of easting crackers with peanut butter, crackers with tuna, cereal…and well…that’s about it.
When my friend Kyle dropped by, as he wanted to say goodbye as he thought his flight back to America would leave that night, he recounted for me about his tale of the storm living several feet away from the ocean, however, feeling safe as there were no trees around to come crashing down on him.
I decided to join Kyle on a walk to the airline office to check on his flight.  After walking carefully under fallen power lines, and walking out of my way to avoid other lines, I smiled as so many trees were cut up to make the road passible because of my wonderful neighbors.
Walking around you see so many animals, especially dogs looking disheveled.  No longer do you fear that they are going to bite you, as you feel bad for what they had just endured, because unlike you, they were unable to seek shelter since they are not palagi dogs, and have no home to go inside to.
When we finally reached the main road, I was in shock.  Everything looked so different in this new light.  Seeing the destruction first hand of what I was recently seeing in photographs was just incredible.  It honestly reminded me of the tsunami damage, only I knew that the damage was not confided to a small area in Samoa, and had plagued the entire country.  It was a little eerie walking around, as we have become used to taxis being all around and busses zooming past blasting music, but today there was none.  The streets were empty of almost all vehicles except people.
It was so horrific to see what some had to endure during the storm as water levels went high into their houses.  Most Samoans don’t own much in terms of furniture, and most things are left ground level, so I could only image how bad their total loss could be.
We trudged through mud that was almost to my knees, walked in brown water that was almost to my waste as the rain came and went, heavy at times.  I will never forget this sole who found a big piece of Styrofoam and was using it as a boat with a stick as an oar.  He offered us rides on his “taxi”.    When we finally arrived at the airline office, there was a sign saying the flight was still on, so I decided to walk with Kyle to where the other Peace Corps volunteers were evacuated to, as some of them had planned on ending their two years of service that night.
When we arrived, we learned that still one of the volunteers was not accounted for, as telephone service was down in many rural areas.  However, they went to go and find her and bring her back to town.  I was told she arrived later that evening after I had already left…but somehow a strange rumor had leaked onto the internet before they had tracked her down.  There was a rumor on twitter and some other website that one Peace Corps Volunteer had passed away during the storm.  Apparently someone in her village had informed another that they hadn’t seen her, and rumor quickly spread that she had died.  Luckily, this was all a rumor and she and her cat are as healthy as can be.
While visiting the other volunteers who were stuck at their hotel due to flooding all around them, I had heard that the cyclone was coming back.  They had announced on the radio to be ready for round two.  I rushed home as fast as I could through the rain and mud, but thankfully the storm never came and I was safe at home.
Car  came inside house

destroyed house

Destroyed house and destroyed cars

Destroyed house

Expanding river during the storm

The river enters the gate to go inside a home

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cyclone evan- during the storm continued

With everyone going all the time, i became lonely, and i wanted to
experience what they were only giving me glimpses of go i begged to tag along. I was told it was unsafe.. I
explained i didn't care about going to the main road, just down the
hill a little bit. Finally i got my wish and bundled up in rain gear i
headed out. We walked for only about a minute when i deemed it truely
unsafe. We saw half a dozen trees down.. Some blocking the road,
others crushing houses. But then i saw the most disturbing thing..a
dog thought someone was touching its tail, and went to bite it and bit
what was touching of the last live wires of electricity. His
teeth were still clenched on the line. I ran quickly up the steep hill
and stayed in for the remainder of the storm..watching trees fall all
around me, interrupted only by the siren of emergency vehicles going
to the hospital. I am not ashamed to say i was scared ..

Cyclone evan-the storm

I've been in a fair amount of almost cyclones.. And was prepared for
an almost cyclone. However when the winds are so strong that it shakes
a concrete house more than an earthquake.. And the city is finally
sounding the emergency alarm,making you think that a tsunami is also
on the way, you quickly learn the difference. Being without water or
electricity i think the men of the house got antsy and decided to
survey the damages.. During the strongest part of the storm they went
out to help their neighbors with trees down clear the road. It is
incredible that the cyclone didnt bother all these people and they
just wanted to help

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cyclone evan part 3

There were no evacuation centres like most countries have when a huge
natural disaster is about to take place..however those that could
afford evacuated to hotels, while others went to neighbors' palagi
houses if they could find one, or a nice sturdy church. Samoa needs to
find out a new way to warn people about no one seemed to
really know it was coming. People were walking around Apia in the rain
unaware that in a few hours some of their favorite landmarks would be
knocked down by the wind. As for my family, we were safe from flooding
in a palagi house up a hill..our only hope was the wind didnt do
anything terrifying..

Cyclone evan continued

Evan seemed to come out of nowhere and hit us.. Sure we were warned
wednesday afternoon that a tropical depression was coming and could
turn into a cyclone.. But we had gotten these messages so many times
over the past 3 years..and they usually were nothing! Later that night
i was given a phone call telling when the cyclone was to hit Apia [i
also had gotten these messages in the past when the cyclone never
came..] but when my husband got a call from his parents saying 3
families were evacuated into their house and the mango tree just
missed hitting the car when it fell.. And the bread fruit tree fell
down to block the road i knew this was now serious! We woke up early
and as soon as the stores opened we loaded all we could fit into our
back packs.. And headed home to camp out for the storm.


Six days ago cyclone evan hit us. It was pretty incredible since it
was my first real cyclone [i am on this side of the world so it is not
a hurricane] and it came just a mere month after the rest of my family
had their first cyclone experience in new york. Six days isn't much
but i remember reading on face book people complaining of being with
out electricity for fewer days..i wondered how they got online.. And
now i see how amazing internet on phones really is... Although unlike
them, i haven't really gotten pastemail on the phone... But as i stand
here by candlelight eating fake spam and crackers fully aware that we
will probably be without the luxuries of electricity and running
water.. I am still happy i am where i am. After spending hours
cleaning mud each day out of office buildings i know that a nice swim
in the sea awaits me to clean myself and i am happy just to do my part
as it has been beautiful to see everyone helping their neighbor. I am
so proud to be a part of probably the strongest community

Monday, October 8, 2012

October 7th 2009

October 7th 2009
On October 7 2009, 23 member of Peace Corps group 82 Samoa arrived in Samoa before sunrise.  It was the hottest I have ever felt ever when getting off of that plane.  I do not think it is possible for me to sweat anymore than I did that morning. 
Exactly 3 years later, Peace Corps group 84 Samoa arrived at Faleolo Airport.  It was the afternoon and I had just finished my afternoon nap on the boat coming home from Savaii when I saw the Air New Zealand plane flying overhead.  “They are here,” I whispered to myself. 
I am the sole remaining volunteer from my group, however, I have one other 82er to keep me company, Kyle.  Kyle is here doing volunteer work through the Catholic Church and has been doing amazing work.  I am really lucky to have him on island, and often in the capital with me as I miss my Peace Corps family who have left Samoa.
A few days ago Kyle and I were reminiscing our first day in Samoa.  The first thing we talked about was the heat and how horrible it was.  We wondered if the newbies would feel the same way we did coming off the plane.  We were also envious in some ways of them coming in on a Sunday.  We had arrived midweek, and immediately were busy with tsunami evacuations, ava ceremonies, numerous sessions held by our office staff.  It is fa’asa for most people to work on a Sunday, so I knew they would have it easy.  (Besides, there haven’t been many tsunami evacuations since that year.)
As I drove to town on the 7th of October, I looked out the window just as I had three years prior and realized I still am in love with the Samoan scenery.  Seeing all of the Samoan fales, with kids running about brings a huge smile to my face.  I love watching cows and pigs cross the road at any point, as well as chickens show their fears of cars.  The only difference is how I felt in the three years.  In 2009 I felt like a foreigner, unsure of everything and unsure of life.  In 2012 I felt at home and at peace with how my life was, and where it was heading. 
The next day I attended the ava ceremony for group 84.  I saw them all nervously sitting there trying desperately to understand what was going on in this foreign country with some strange man talking continuously in a foreign language.  Just like three years ago, a RPCV named Benj was assisting in the ceremony, his job was the presentation of ava sticks.  There were so many speeches and I smiled brightly when I heard the newbies stumble over the words before drinking their shell of ava.  (La’u ava lea lea tua, soifua).

These three years have been so memorable to me, and a big part of it is because of how supportive my Pisi Koa family has been.  So to group 82, I would like to wish you all a happy 3 years of growth, and thank you for being a part of my family for three amazing years.  For group 83, I want to wish you a happy two year anniversary; it’s been quite a ride with all of you on the islands.  For all of the Pisi Koa in the past (there are too many groups to list) who have been a part of my experience, fa’afetai lava!  And for our newbies Group 84, Afio mai!  I know Samoa will be full of amazing experiences.  I hope you are able to open up and embrace them all.  Manuia lou 2 tausaga!  


“What are you doing?”  I was asked in the evening after work and a hot bike ride back home. 
“Just reading my book,” I responded.
“Then come cut the grass,” I was told as I was handed my machete.    Well more of a big outdoor kitchen knife.  As I watched the boy with me cut the grass with ease and my knife barely doing anything unless I held the grass while chopping at it, I can’t do it,” I declared, “this knife sucks.”  I tried a bit more and trimmed the grass a little bit, but not far enough before giving up on the grass cutting expedition. 
I looked over to the right and saw so many dead leaves on the banana trees and made that my next expedition.  The banana leaves were high up and being on a hill with random sinkholes didn’t exactly help my situation.  I am glad everyone else was busy doing yard work so they didn’t see me fall several times, one time breaking my shoes.  Or see me trying to jump with my knife to get some of the really high dead leaves...which was a relief.   With all of my struggles I at least got a lot done and had a huge pile of rubbish.  (Yes leaves are rubbish in Samoa.) by the time it was time to go inside for dinner. 
I looked around and so much grass was cut, and the trees looked better, I was impressed with our accomplishment.  I fixed my shoe, got stuck in the hole again, and headed back home for a tall ipu of water.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Are you Samoan?

Are You Samoan?
Yesterday at my office someone came up to me and said, “You are really white...are you Samoan?”  It made me smile for the rest of the day...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chicken Pox

Chicken Pox

Sometimes people give me random tasks to do, that make you go “huh?”  For instance yesterday my job was to take a little boy to the ocean to bathe him in salt water to cure his chicken pox.  I never heard of this remedy before...


Monday, September 24, 2012


In other countries when you know a bus schedule, you know when to catch the bus... in Samoa you think you know a bus schedule, and the one day you go to catch that bus there is a faalavelave to disturb your travels.  Sometimes you hear about the faalavelaves ahead of time as it is well known of a village funeral requiring the use of a bus.  But for some of the smaller rentals of busses such as family reunions or other picnics, not everyone often hears that the particular bus will be out of commission for that particular day.  At least those disturbances are only for a day.
The bigger problem is when the busses are out for several weeks or longer as the bus has broken down.  While I was living in Savaii this affected my travels numerous times as twice during the two years my busses got into accidents and it took several months to repair them.  What happens is there is now a gap in that time slop of what the broken down bus travels.  Can I tell you how much this stinks!  It is bad when you are trying to get somewhere, and the next bus isn’t for a few more hours.  Usually I am not in that much of a rush, but when you need to take the first boat, this can be a hassle. 
This happened to me on my last trip to Savaii, as I was about to return to Upolu I learned the night before that the 3:00 bus had crashed into a tree and therefore there was no longer a bus for that ferry.  You could still sit outside and wait for the bus, and possibly the further district bus might pick you up, but it is not guaranteed as they could be full and just pass you by. 
I had to get to work, there was denying it.  The only solution I had was to gather a few others, and share a taxi and I felt lucky that I was able to make it to my bus in order to make it in time for work the following day.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Boat trips

Boat Trips
Oh how I miss riding the ferry all the time!  I feel like so many stories and experiences are had on the boat.  Some are good, some are bad, some are about me leaning over the edge feeding the fish.  The trip can sometimes can be an all day affair travelling between the two islands, or at least just feel like it. 
On Friday, I had an experience that reminded me how wonderfully unique Samoa is.  Elsewhere,  in bus stations, train stations, wharfs or anywhere else there is someone to make announcements when something happens to interrupt your trip, or often to only give you an update with your travels. Although sometimes they are inaudible, in the cases I grew up with, in the NYC subway, there is always plenty present that understand what is being said.  Samoa has its own way of announcing.  Fai tala.
Fai tala means gossip and happens throughout Samoa.  It is how coconut wireless, our way of knowing everything without even access to media is so strong. 
The first thing I learned was at the bus station at the fish market.  The Lady Samoa III (The newest of Samoa’s fleet) had broke down and was being serviced in American Samoa.  This meant that the Lady Samoa II (My favourite boat!) would be running in its place.
When the bus arrived at the wharf, I was wondering why things were different.  There was no long line to buy tickets for the ferry, even though the boat was to leave in 45 minutes.  Then the coconut wireless signal came in signal…even though there were no workers in sight. 
The small boat (the Foto..) broke down halfway on its trip to Savaii.  Our 4:00 boat, the Lady Samoa II, went to rescue the passengers so they would not be stranded at sea.  We had heard that boat would come back to get us…maybe. 
At 5:30 they finally opened the booth to buy tickets, and everyone crowded into the next room to await boarding.  The storm clouds brought a little bit of rain, but not much.  (You really have to look at the clouds when riding any boat other than the Lady Samoa III, because sitting outside is preferable to try to combat sea sickness and even of you are covered, you don’t want the ground to be wet under your bum. 
After 6:00 the boat arrived, and I was disappointed to see it was the small Foto.  I was disappointed for two reasons, first being it just broke down a few hours ago and needed to be rescued.  Who knew if they would send out another boat to rescue us when most workers are finished for the day.  The second reason is because that boat is so slow.  It usually takes about double the time as the Lady Samoa III.  It felt like I was going to be at my destination at 10:00 at night.
The boat was packed.  People were crammed into the tiny sitting area inside, others were on all levels of the captain’s balcony, and still more were trying to find any bit of space they could find around the cars.  I was next to the trucks carrying things for what looked like a funeral, but could be any fa’alavelave. 
Near me, someone was blaring their speakers and as the sun set on our trip, I pretended I was on Rock Da Boat and dancing to the music. 
I finally arrived at the village I was supposed to well after dark….with a million memories of one long trip! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Sa to Go

It’s Sa to Go.
Three years ago during our safety and security training we were warned about different places.  They wanted to make sure we were always safe and told us to avoid some of the places that might cause trouble. Those are the places where you only find Samoans and often fights break out.  We were warned and heard some horror stories to make sure we stayed away.  It seemed reason enough for me to go, and I truthfully had no desire. 
For a long time whenever others wanted to go to these places, I responded by telling them it is sa (not allowed) to go.  One year ago, I went to my first of those places with another volunteer and several of our Samoan friends.  It felt weird, like I was disobeying someone by going there.  I was committing the biggest sin of all by not listening to my safety and security officer.  I have known many, many people to go to these places, and from what I was understanding, it seemed as if there was a big enough group of you there and people to look after you, you would be fine.  I think they were correct, because when someone would approach me that I didn’t want near me, I was easily able to hide behind one of my big Samoan friends.  I really enjoyed it because there was good music for dancing and I think everyone in the world knows how much Samoans love to dance.
Two weekends ago I went to a second place on the list.  This time I was only accompanied by Samoan friends….which meant I was the only palagi in the entire establishment.  It is funny because even though I am palagi, I feel that I act more Samoan than some of the people I saw inside.  For example, a girl came over o me and was so excited to see me because I was palagi and spoke English, because even though she is Samoan she knew none of the language.  The way she dressed, many people would be offended by, yet she had no clue.  I felt bad for her because she has such a rich heritage, yet she knows nothing about it because she was raised overseas. 
I had a good time there because of the band giving it a lively atmosphere.  It reminded me of the only nightclub in Savaii, as the boys ask you to dance politely.  It is okay for you to follow junior high school dance protocol by being a few feet apart while dancing, and after the dance, an appropriate way to thank another for the dance is a handshake.  After the dance, you can run to the side, and begin to ponder if someone will ask you to another dance. 
I enjoyed being at these places, but I see how there can be problems.  Many Samoans do not know how to control themselves when drinking as they do not know when their limit has been reached; therefore too many patrons at these establishments are ona tele (very drunk).  When drunk boys are present, often there is trouble in my mind.  Fights can break out making the night less enjoyable.
 I am lucky that my two nights at the faasa nightclubs nothing happened.  But I feel as if I kept safe by having my group with me.
I still feel like a rebel for going there…

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Teuila Festival

Teuila Festival
This past week Samoa celebrated Teuila festival.  While most schools had holiday, I found myself still working so I was not able to partake in all of the events like I had hoped. 
During Teuila festival there are events happening nightly, some which conflict with other events making it hard for you to pick which ones you want to attend.  During the fautasi races, there was the first all women’s team competing, and although I missed the race, I saw them practice and it was nice to see strong women competing with the men. 
I went several nights to watch the singing and dancing in front of the government buildings, and my favorite thing there was siva afi.  During the fire dancing, one of the young boys competing lost his ie and was left to fire dance in his underwear.  I felt bad for him, but he didn’t seem to let it bother him.
I went to a rugby competition and had fun seeing some of the boys I know win the bowl. 
Although I wasn’t able to take in the entire festival like I was for Independence Day, I still had fun with what I was able to see.
Maybe now that it’s over, Apia will stop being so crowded and life can get back to normal.

Independence Day 2012

Independence Day
While I wasn’t blogging, and only thinking about it…this is what was happening:
Samoa celebrated it’s 50th anniversary on the 1st of June 2012.  It was an exciting time as there was so much going on, however there was much confusion as it is different than celebrations in other countries.  The biggest problem was the schedule of events was late coming out, and therefore the government was late in deciding which days were declared a Federal holiday.  The holiday ended up being Friday the 1st, Monday the 4th and Tuesday the 5th, with a half day holiday on Saturday the 2nd, to allow everyone to shop for what was needed.  The Public schools had a confusing time as well.  The Ministry didn’t do a good job communicating when school would resume, and some schools had another week off from school because of the confusion, while others resumed without notice of what others were doing.
I was enjoying the holiday as I find myself working many more hours at my new job compared to previous two years.  I stayed really busy trying to take it all in and had an amazing time. 
I had an amazing accomplishment as I competed in my first half marathon, and finished in 5th place!  I am really proud of myself as I was able to complete the entire race running.  It was different than the previous years running as there were only four of us Peace Corps competing and I missed our large Peace Corps family waiting at the finish line.
I also participated in probably the longest shortest parade ever.  It was the longest based upon the amount of groups marching in it, which was 250 if I remember correctly.  We were all told to wait on a field in front of the government building for several hours before the parade.  The area was small and we were all cramped together with barely enough room to breathe.  Participants were getting sick and fainting due to the hot conditions.  When it was time for our group to march, we were so happy to move and stretch out our legs.  However, it was so sad to see how short the area was that we were to march.  It was just in front of the Prime Minister, Head of State and other distinguished guests.  It was not a parade for everyone to watch, except for on television.  We marched for about one minute in total before it was done.  It was such a disappointment as they could have made the parade so much better than it was.
During the week I attended my first Fafafine Pageant .   It was a lot of fun and an interesting experience.  All of the contestants picked a country to represent them, and it made me laugh how some of them probably picked a country that they knew nothing about.  They gave speeches about their given countries and had outfits made that represent that area.  They had a talent competition, swim suit competition (which was different to say the least as it was men parading around in women’s swim suits.  From the people at my table I learned a lot about how strong the fafafine community is in Samoa as they help others even around the world.
I went several times to the fautasi races (the boats with 50 people rowing).  It was always interesting because of the tide they would race at different times throughout the day, whichever seemed the least convenient it seemed.  The finals took place about 5 am, in the pitch dark, with the boats reaching the finish line about the time of sunrise. 
I went to the marching band and marching competitions.  The marching competitions had students in primary school doing marching in a fun hip hop dancing kind of way.  It was really enjoyable to watch.
I went to the candlelight visual service which was probably my favorite church service during the year.  Hundreds and hundreds of people outside with candles as they sing songs and have a church service created a magical experience.  It was beautiful.
I attended my first professional boxing match in which people from overseas came to compete.  It was exciting to me as I was trying to figure out what the referee was doing.
There was also singing and dancing competitions throughout the week which were fun to watch. 
Many people felt the highlight was the UB 40 concert.  There were many amazing opening acts, and UB 40 was spectacular.  I had to leave early as the next morning was my half marathon, and I wanted to stay refreshed for it.  The comical part of the night I missed.  Samoans aren’t used to concerts, as they are not as well trained as us from overseas.  After UB40 finished their performance the spectators left, they didn’t know that encores usually take place following the acts.  Then all of a sudden without any warning, the band returned back on stage.  Those who left Apia parked returned to enjoy the surprise encore. 
Independence Day in Samoa was a memorable but busy time.  I don’t think I will forget the week of events.

Friday, September 7, 2012


Well, it’s been awhile...and I’ve had enough people ask me why I haven’t been keeping up with this blog...Well...the truth is...I have no real excuse.
It is weird because the more that internet is available, the less I try to be on it.  It is less of a luxury, and you begin to notice the price tag going up each time you go to the internet cafe to access it.  It is the same thing with other luxuries as well, like going out to eat.  I used to crave different types of food and going to certain restaurants... now I have gone back to craving my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 
My journey in Samoa has been an interesting one, and it is hard to believe that it started almost 3 years ago.  Throughout this time I have learned a lot about myself and have grown a lot as well.  With less than half a year left, it is hard to see it come to an end, however it won’t be a complete end.  Even though I will be closing my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I will have a piece of Samoa with me wherever I go.  Next month I am going to have my own Samoan wedding. It makes me chuckle because I have heard of my friends planning weddings in America, and they seem so stressed out all the time, and me, I am taking the more laid back island style approach.  Things will happen when they do, and there is no use in worrying about it. 
Work continues to be work.  The students are continuing to test my patience with trying to turn everyone against me, or the one other teacher.  It is actually amazing how they can unite like this.  They continue to be really sneaky, and it is important to know where your valuables are, just in case.  I feel like my students have grown tremendously and I couldn’t be prouder of them. 
But as for me, I am going to keep living and enjoying life.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Samoan Soccer Federation

Samoan Soccer Federation
I love networking.  It is so great being able to meet new people and find ways to have them help me!  It is also good to find ways for your friends to help you!
My friend Sarai works for the Samoan Football Federation (a funny name because they call it soccer here, just like in America..).  She invited the students from my school for a day of learning skills and playing games at the soccer fields. 
It was amazing the program they put on…especially since the National Under 20’s team assisted in teaching them.  The kids had smiles across their faces the entire time as they ran across the field dribbling the ball between their legs.  It was a complete real game, with kids being carded and ejected from the game for forgetting we were not playing a rough game like rugby, instead of the more tame soccer.
At the end the children were treated to ice pops, and shared a sour sop (so delicious!). 
I hope we get to be invited out there again, because it really was a superb day.  

Some Days....

Some days….
Some days you love your job…and some days you just want to cry.  I am really thankful that I have amazing students that are so lovable, otherwise I would be crying on a plane back to America.
My problem comes with my only teacher on staff (did I ever mention how much I dislike being a principal?).  I noticed she was neglecting to do all of her teaching and I wanted to ensure that the students are getting a well balanced curriculum of English, Math and Samoan (it is difficult for us to get basic science and social science due to our limited resources).  Upon checking up on her to make sure she was teaching what she needed to, she became offended and yelled at me in front of the children calling me bossy.  I explained how I am her supervisor so I need to see what she is teaching, and she didn’t want to listen and kept bad mouthing me.   The worst part of this incident is half the students were still there…and they were standing there with their mouths wide open because of what was coming out of her mouth.
It will get better, how could it not?  I mean I have gotten used to so many hurdles in this job that this one I should be able to jump over.

Peace Corps Family

Peace Corps Family

Being a third year volunteer is strange…I am still a volunteer but sometimes I feel like I am a part of something else.  My Peace Corps family who I had being my strong support is now missing from my life.  The nearest Peace Corps volunteer is now a 45 minute bus ride away, which seems impossible compared to Savaii, where I could run there in 30 minutes.  All of the volunteers are away from the capital, leaving me alone all the time. 
Just as my group was a close family, the group after me is a close family, who sometimes forgets me, their older sister.  I don’t let it bother me too much as I have other things to preoccupy my time.  Being in such a small country for several years I have met so many new people, even in cities where I was not living, so my new friends help me to keep my sanity. 



About a month or two ago the older students from my school joined the Baha’i Youth for a visit to Mapuifagalele, the home for the elderly of Samoa.
It was such a beautiful day as the children sang beautifully and reached out to others, when normally it is the other way around with people reaching to them.  The girls all had tears in their eyes as they talked with the elderly and brought some of them up to siva Samoa, some with wheelchairs and all. 
It was nice to visit Mapuifagalele because I do not know how regular their visitors are, and it is always nice to see someone new greeting you with love.
Mapuifagalele has beautiful grounds and it was nice to make a trip there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zumba and Pizza

Zumba and Pizza

Being in my position at work, can cause a lot of frustrations as I try to juggle all of the volunteers, creating curriculum, paperwork, etc, but it also has its advantages.  I have met a lot of amazing people due to what I am doing, and have had the even bigger pleasure of working with many of them.
Today is one of those days I get to work with someone really special.
Several days a week I do Zumba with the children so they can have physical activities, and Zumba is one that they truly enjoy.  It is a lot of fun, for an hour playing music loud on my lawn, while the children take turns leading the group in dance. 
Today, the owners at Giordanios Pizza are sponsoring pizza and Zumba day.  It will be a lot of fun, I am really looking forward to it…especially because their pizza is so delicious!  
I can't wait until the school day is over!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Battle: Roaches 1 Lillian 0

Chasing cockroaches with a butcher knife is not as successful chasing them away with your foot or drowning them in the sink.  Lesson learned…You win today’s battle cockroaches… but I will be more prepared for you tomorrow!

Blood Failure

Blood Failure

Every month the Australian High Commission put on a 3k and 5 k fun run/walk.  It is a lot of fun and they get local volunteer organizations involved.  This past month, it was the Red Cross.  After the run/ walk they would have a blood donation day.  I decided, what the heck, I haven’t done so in awhile…let me donate. 
After getting my exercise, I went to the join the line on donating blood.  The line moved in no order that seemed to make sense, but after registering, I was told that it was great that I was donating because they needed B+ blood. 
What was strange about donating was they have pamphlets (in English only..) telling you who is eligible to donate blood, and who is not…but they never ask you the questions. They don’t test your blood ahead of time, don’t check your blood pressure, it is a get right to it deal.
When it was my time, I warned the person with the needle that sometimes they have difficulties with my veins so I showed both of my arms to see which was better.  He picked the one that was more convenient for where I was sitting.  After the needle was in for awhile, he took it out and I had the worst pain ever!  He apparently got it wrong and my vein was now swollen and full of pain.  He immediately went to the other arm and started successfully the new needle.   
I began to feel faint.  I knew I should have said something but I was too weak to say something.  I just tried to concentrate on being awake.  I woke up with about people around me putting wet cloths around my head and my neck and someone trying to feed me chocolate milk (disgusting!)   They had stopped the donation when I passed out.
I felt like a complete wuss.  I have donated blood so many times in America, but for some reason, my body wasn’t up for it that day.  So many people were looking at me all worried, especially a few who told me it was their first time donating.  I tried to tell them that it was a one time thing, and it normally is not that bad…but I don’t know if they believed me after seeing my ordeal. 
For the rest of my Saturday, I dealt with a horrible pain in my right arm, which continued a little bit into Saturday.  On Monday, my arm was slightly blue in the area of my bad vein.  (I would expect black and blue…but it was a cool blue color…)  I am hoping that it goes away and that is the end of my blood donation drama. 
Maybe I just have to wait for another time where they check blood pressure first to make sure I am completely healthy and ready to donate.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

One Room School House

One Room School House


Usually I can get by at school without a problem.  Sure we teach 8 lessons at a time, but there are usually two or three of us to teach making the impossible possible.  One day things felt doomed.

How did people do it in the olden days in one room school houses?  One teacher with so many levels… it just seemed like an impossible task without help. 

But this day I was in that situation.  My other teacher didn’t show up, and my volunteers were all sick.  I was alone.  Luckily my older students feel confident working on their own with the small directions I give them, which made things possible as I was able to have more time with the younger students who need more constant supervision. 

The day felt like the longest day of my life, but I survived my one room school house. 

Teaching at this school is giving me so many new experiences I never thought I would get….


Monday, April 30, 2012

Sudden Dose of Reality


Some days I feel as though I have a normal life, working, enjoying time with my friends, etc….and then reality sinks in. 

I was working on something for the NGO that I am a part of….helping to create a tee shirt and using the internet to help design it when one of my girls came into the house.  She asked what I was doing and I had her assist me with colours for the shirt to make it look more fashionable (our spelling work for the week) and then began to tell me about her day.

My student had spent the day at court because her trial was going on, and she mentioned that she saw the man that raped her and she was so angry.  She didn’t want to look at his face or have anything more to do with him.  She said that when the judge asked to point out the man who did this act to her she closed her eyes and pointed.  I asked her if she knew this man before the sexual assault and she explained it was her father.

Oh man I though…..No wonder this poor girl is constantly acting up.  She must be so confused with her life and who she can trust.

I try my best to treat all of my students like normal students….but some days they just need that extra bit of love and you can only hope that you are there for them when they need you most. 


Friday, April 27, 2012

Dog Bite

Dog Bite


While my computer was out of commission, I ended up getting another mark on Samoan Bingo.  (I already had boils, fallen off my bike, bitten by a centipede, fallen asleep on a strangers floor…etc) This time I had my dog attack….I actually had two within a week.

The second one wasn’t so bad.  While I was walking, the dog bit my heel when I lifted my foot.  It didn’t leave any mark, so I was not too worried about it.  In fact I don’t think I told anyone about it.

However the first dog bite, that one startled me.  I don’t know if you have ever been bitten by a dog…but while it happened to me, and even after, my body went into a little shock. 

Here is how it went down…

I was walking down a street I normally walk down by my house during the day time.  I guess the dog saw me and liked me, so decided to leave a love bite.  He did not bark or anything, which normally gets me nervous around certain dogs.  He was very quiet during the entire process.   

I limped home, not too worried as it was only a few small places where the teeth marked the skin. 

I limped around the following days, taking the bus well more than usual, and then my leg started to give me more pain.  So I decided to play the game show is my leg infected from the dog bite, or is it something else…Many people chimed in, and suggested I see the doctor…but being a stubborn girl, I thought I was okay.  The pain went away about a week and a half later, so I think I won the game show.

Unlike my bike accident(s) and my boils, the dog didn’t leave a visual scar on me…so I will not have a permanent reminder for when I travel back to the US on Samoan dogs.

Lesson learned: The quiet dogs are the ones to fear.


Thursday, April 26, 2012




I have to say…I need to give more credit to all the principals out there.  I am only in charge of one teacher and an ever changing enrollment of never more than 30 students, and I find some days wayyyyyy too rough. 

It is so difficult to find the right line between being a friend and being a supervisor.  You need to have the respect of everyone, and that is something that can be so hard to gain.  Confronting a teaching on their mistakes is so difficult to do, and going through with enough follow throughs to ensure the error is corrected feels like a never ending job. 

I think what makes what I am doing even more difficult (besides having kids with emotional problems) is I still have the cultural barrier.  Although I understand many things about the Samoan culture, there is still something blocking me from being as effective as I can be.  I am not exactly sure how I can overcome this obstacle. 

After this treacherous week, my hats off to all the principals out there- kudos on surviving on one of the most difficult jobs. 


Monday, April 23, 2012

Back to Blogging

Back to Blogging

Wow does this feel nice again….I just received my computer wire and so I am back on a computer again.  It is so nice to not have to borrow computers and search for computers that have the programs I need….I now have it all again right here where I need it.

Let’s see…how can I catch up on my life…

In the past month since I have been blogging, I have spent a lot of time working.  Way too much time if you ask me!  The school and the girls have taken over my life.  We spend several hours in school, then several days a week we do Zumba on my front lawn.  It has been a lot of fun, and you really grow to love all the children in my school.

For birthdays, I believe that these kids need something special to celebrate since they don’t have their families around them.  To make the day a little special, we have started to create homemade birthday cakes for the kids.  This means I have several kids in my kitchen learning about measuring, reading a recipe, and how to use a palagi oven. 

On top of my normal work, I am on the executive committee of the Samoan Victims Support Juniors which keeps me extremely busy.  I am working on a project proposal right now that will hopefully take place in the upcoming months.

I was also just asked to work on a project at the Attorney General’s office.


Besides all of that workload….I am still attempting to train for the half marathon that will take place during Independence Weekend (June 1st) and doing what feels like a billion other things as well.

So I apologize for my silence.  I promise it won’t last! 




Postcard Project 2012

Postcard Project 2012


Last year because of all of you I had a successful postcard project which taught my students a lot about the outside world. They learned about each of the different continents, oceans and what people like to do in each place.  There was so much language and cultural information shared-it was incredible. 

With having a new group of students, I am hoping I am able to do this project again.  My students this year are not your average students.  Some of them were taken from their families because of physical abuse, others for sexual, and others for about a million other reasons.  They are aged 5-20 and are at a variety of ability levels (which makes grouping them for lessons always interesting!).

I know they would love hearing from you, and responding back. 

If you can help out with this year’s postcard project I would really appreciate it. 

Just send a postcard of where you are, or where you are from with any information on it.  It can be about what you enjoy doing there, a history lesson, about the nature, about your family, the possibilities are endless as they all have great English lessons to attach to them.

When sending a postcard, you can put your return address on it, or email it to me at


My current address is:


Lillian Watson, PCV

Private Mail Bag


Western Samoa


Hope to hear from you soon!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Lack of Writing

I am sorry that I have not been keeping up with this blog as well as I would like to. The wire on my computer decided to end its life, making me unable to turn on my computer. Hopefully in a few weeks when I have a new wire I can get back to writing more regularly.

Projective Vomiting

I have recently learned how to create projectile vomiting. Eat old eggs. I don't really reccomend it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Dogs on the Road

Walking on the road in the dark can be scary in different areas for different reasons.  In some countries you might be scared of theft, here you don’t have that problem as much, but you still need to worry about one thing.  Dogs.

During the night (and often during the day) dogs rule the roads here in Samoa.  Throughout the night they sleep in the middle of the road (I must admit, they have it right to stay warm).  They can get angry with you for disturbing their peaceful sleep, even if it is by walking slowly and quietly next to them.  This could turn into a chase where the human is running away screaming, “halu” (Go away) at the top of their lungs (This is often the case for me…) or you need to bring things to defend yourself from this vicious enemy. 

Some people walk or run with umbrellas to ward off the dogs, others bring golf clubs, but the most common is rocks.  It is easy to pick up a rock to throw at the dogs to tell them to stop it and leave you alone.

I am not advocating that injuring dogs is the right method for safety, but what are you to do when you are being chased by several dogs just for using “their road” and you have nothing to defend yourself.