Talofa from Samoa!
Just had a whirlwind trip around both islands of ‘paradise’ (Samoa) – taking a NZ scientist friend around to check out the possibility of alternative energy provision up here (solar and wind power).
Stayed with some of our village stay programme people, in their homes (fales).
Met a lady and her 4 yr old son who were both tsunami survivors in a village that has now virtually all relocated inland. The little boy had been scooped up out of the raging waters by an LDS missionary in the area who was already up in a tree holding onto another child, keeping their heads above the water. This young child bears the visible scars on his arms and legs of the vicious second and third waves of hot, black water that became filled with the glass and iron rubble from the demolished buildings in the first surge.
To end the week, we were intimately involved in the Samoan general elections (held every five years) with a two day public holiday. Our cultural advisor and good friend, Tui Tuigamala, was running for MP in his local area, about ten kms from where we live. We helped him with transport around the electorate on voting day (he had previously had to sell his own car to fund his campaign).
It was with much sadness that on the day, possible corruption has barred his access to the two seats available. We believe, however, that God will have His way in this situation, and Tui will rise to take a place to continue to help his village people as he is so good at doing already, with or without a ministerial position.