Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lotofaga family

I have learned recently that I’m not very good at making generalizations… I make them a lot. I blame many years of traveling and my cultural studies at Universities. You just can’t help making them while you are trying to understand a culture. I realize there are always exceptions and that my generalizations are usually flawed, and hence and trying to make them as little as possible. With this said I am about to make a huge one about Samoans. Samoans are by far some of the most generous and loving people I have ever met. I just finished spending Almost two months with a host family in the village of Lotofaga. This was a training period and I spent my time studying the culture, language and teaching techniques to implement when I started my service. This family not only opened their home to me they gave more then I could have ever expected and to be honest more then they could probably afford. I was fed like a king (by Samoan standards). I was housed in the biggest nicest room in the Fale. I was showered with gifts and always given a place of honor at all events. They also took great care of me. I was never alone, I was always accompanied and entertained, where I wished to be or not. I quickly come to realize that “alone time” is neither desirable nor even understood by Samoans. Although this was a challenge at times I came to realize that my host sister wanting to sleep in my bed was not for her own reasons but because she didn’t want me to have to sleep alone. This concept seemed to apply in almost all scenarios; another volunteer couldn’t even shower alone. It was a hard adjustment to make and eventually I had to draw lines just to keep my sanity but the love behind it left in indelible impression. I have never been thrust so fully into a family not only accepted but borderline smothered with love and generosity. If I had any doubts about their sincerity it was immediately wiped away when it came time for me to leave and go back to Apia for swearing in. I saw my mothers eyes glisten as she tried to hold back tears and I had to peal my little siblings off of me as I got into the car. As an American it’s really hard to accept both gifts and emotions. We seem to automatically question motives and sincerity (there goes another generalization). It has been difficult to break this habit but I know I will always be thankful for all my training village host family gave to me but mostly for strengthening my faith in people.


  1. Aww that's truly a beautiful post! Hope you're teaching is going awesomely, may our people continue to be wonderful in your eyes - keep up the great work you're doing!
    Christine. :)