I left behind the freezing weather in Auckland only to meet two days of rain in Samoa. Hot as … stepped off the plane right by the front door of the terminal.
The Immigration team were quite laid back, although they did hassle me about what SWAP was and who I’d be staying with. Maybe they had looked out the door and seen the white limo and the red carpet that awaited me, and Dennis (looking like a shady drug-dealer I had just met online), and that’s why they asked so many questions!
Man it was hot, driving around in the limo all day. It reminded me so much of Papua-New Guinea, my birth place, but also a bit dirty like Mexico. There were tonnes of coconut trees, pawpaw, and bread fruit.
We went into Samoa’s TV3, and it felt like a time warp – equipment out of date, a feeling of inefficiency, a bit like New Zealand in the seventies. They wanted an interview for the news that night, but as it turned out, their camera was faulty, so we had to repeat it all again the next morning!
In fact the whole country was less advanced than I thought it would be. It is quite primitive with houses without walls (it’s just too hot to be walled in). There are piles of rubbish, up on stands to keep the dogs out, but do they ever collect it? But they all walk around with cellphones in their hands, texting each other furiously.
SWAP Headquarters are still in development up in the cooler climate at 250m above sea level, along the Aleisa Road. Dennis wasn’t joking when he told me prior to coming he was just laying the concrete floor for my bedroom (a lean-to in the bush with a tarpaulin to keep out the rain and a mossie net to keep out the bugs!!!)
I was a bit concerned the first night, when all the forest noises sounded loud and so different to the day. In the early morning the chickens wandered past my bed, and a local dog had obviously visited the rubbish bag that wasn’t up high enough!
Samoa has been an interesting start – I miss my washing machine, shouldn’t have packed my sweatshirts, and should have brought more insect repellent! But, it’s early days, and I am up for the challenge.