Pacific Paradise “burns the calories”

How many diets have we all tried, and failed … or at least not reached our goals with? I have been on this sort of bandwagon since I had my last child! He’s now 22, and it got a bit embarrassing when he told me one day I was heavier than he was for his latest rugby weigh-in!!!

Well, what do you say when you return from Samoa after 18 months in the hot tropical Pacific Paradise, and you are 26kgs lighter! Praise God, was my first reaction!

But really, it was so effortless – no diets to follow, no feelings of guilt after discarding a chocolate wrapper!!!

You Ask … How did you do it? Continue reading “Pacific Paradise “burns the calories””

Easter 2012

Well, I celebrated my second Easter in Samoa this weekend – NO chocolate or marshmallow here!! Too hot for that!

We truly celebrated our Lord’s Resurrection – He has been so faithful to us in our trek up to Samoa. We constantly are saying WOW – that must have been from the Lord.

We have had 5 WWOOFers here over the last seven weeks – Willing Workers on Organic Farms – they come for a week or two (or six) from all over the world. These last ones were from Germany, Italy and New Zealand (initially) – working about five hours a day on the land in exchange for accommodation and food!

It was a biggie for me, having only just returned to Samoa after a 7 week holiday visiting family in New Zealand for Christmas. I returned to NO power, very little gas, but finally we had running water to our property. It is very 3rd world on our land in rural Samoa, living like the locals, but a great experience for those who have come straight from their apartments in Europe.

We now have 17 hens and roosters, 2 dogs (well, puppies) and a garden full of ripening paw paws, taro plants, cassava, sweetcorn, tomatoes, beans, pineapples, noni fruit, coconuts, and bananas and much much more! All growing and needing weeding and watering daily!!!


The Drought Has Broken

I have been in New Zealand for the last three weeks, but my husband tells me that the drought we were experiencing when I flew out has finally broken. The rainy season appears to have come earlier than anticipated by some of the locals.

I had checked our water pipeline on the property twice since the pipes started to run dry. Usually, we would get sparing amounts, but would at least get a flow at some stage each day or two. But it turns out that our “No Water” for ten days was in fact due to our neighbours uncoupling the pipes they had let us tap into .  Seems the attitude is “it’s every man for himself” when the water starts to dry up!!!

I wonder what has happened to the local water authority’s advice that we would have a new sub-main in our road in the new financial year. That was 1 July 2011, and still we are yet to see it! But then, with a drought on, I guess there was no point in putting in a larger pipe, was there?

Light No Fires!!

Cooking over an open fire in the village

I laughed the other night when I deciphered from a Samoan tv news article that there was a total fire ban in Samoa. I mean – what are the people supposed to do? Most village people cook their food over an open fire! What would a total fire ban be, if you were still allowed to light a fire for cooking? Too many questions. But, I still see umu smoke rising on a Sunday, so I guess they are not going hungry.

But the reason for the fire ban is obvious – there is a drought here. Water is scarce, especially on Savaii, and parts of Upolu. Our own area, up in the Aleisa hills overlooking Apia, that gets its fair share of rain clouds, has had poor water supply since we have been here – and that is nearly four months now. We were told there would be a new sub-main down our road once the budgets had been approved, because they were out of 2″ pipes until after the new financial year started in August. Well, hello, it’s October, and no sign of our pipe yet!

We started with connecting into a half inch PVC pipe supplying the non-resident neighbour – who occasionally filled the water tanks for the cattle. Being downhill from us, it meant we could go without water for a day as he called by in the morning to turn the tap on, and returned later in the evening to turn it off – if we were lucky. But that was in the deal, so we got a few water barrels and made do with what we had.

When this even dried up for days because of the narrow pipe,  we tapped into the other neighbour’s 3/4 inch pipe and had a more regular supply. That became infrequent as the water authority turned the pressure down during the early part of the week, needing us to buy a pump just to get it up to the header tanks on the roof. It was always available at least once during the week to get the whites ready for church on Sundays – so we made sure to build our higher usage around the days the water flowed.

Somehow I have managed to produce a crop of over 500 tomatoes and 25 sweetcorn off the land, and beans coming out our ears! Another crop of tomatoes that made very poor growth to start with have now leaped into life with more regular watering. The pineapples continue to grow despite the lack of water, as do the staple crops of taro and taamu.

So, I will light no fires, as I am told to do. (Except my gas cooker and mossie zappers, right?) But I will still see smoke arising from around the village next Sunday, as always.



What the chickens have taught me in Samoa…

I updated my Facebook Profile with this comment last week and thought I should elaborate on it in this week’s blog post. Firstly, to post again for those who didn’t see it:

5 things I learned from the chickens outside my tent in Samoa –

1. Stay close to Mum, she will always keep a lookout for trouble while you are busy eating!
2. If Mum chirps … Beware … you better respond quickly, or you might not live to tell the tale.
3. Follow Mum’s advice and actions – she gets up on the high rock for a reason.
4. Don’t fight with your brothers and sisters, it only distracts you from more important issues, like eating.
5. There is always one chicken who is adventurous and wants to do his (generally always the male chick) own thing, and not follow Mum.

Now, I don’t just have two cuddly yellow chicks visit me each morning – like the picture. They are far too quick for me to actually capture them on photo! In fact, I have about five families/generations of chicks to wake me every morning at 6am (7am this morning thanks to Daylight Saving over the weekend!) Continue reading “What the chickens have taught me in Samoa…”

A Numbers Game …

Flying the flag for the Rugby World Cup
Flying the flag for Manu Samoa in the Rugby World Cup

Well, after six months in Samoa, I don’t feel the need to tell you how many weeks it has been anymore! Besides, there are more important numbers going on in people’s minds at the moment. I’m referring to Rugby World Cup scores – and I have to not only know how the All Blacks are faring, but also how my “adopted” Manu Samoa team is doing as well!

I commented to a friend that she wasn’t at the local Hamilton game a few nights back. Her reply – “I don’t do rugby!” Try saying that to a Samoan at the moment – then again, I think it is better left unsaid! Continue reading “A Numbers Game …”

Enter the Throneroom

Samoa Toilet
Out with the old … in with the new!

At last – this week we ‘flushed’ the loo for the first time in the three months we have been here!!! For those who think it must … well … smell – our toilet is finally installed with running water and flushing out to the septic tank at the push of the button! Some think – so what! For us, it is “Progress” that has been well-earned. You can take too much for granted, you know!

We have been tied to the computers over the last week, getting eveything ready for the launch of the new initiative to boost Samoa’s tourism numbers, that we plan to launch in New Zealand for 2012. Continue reading “Enter the Throneroom”

The Sweetest Sweetcorn

For those who don’t know, I am in Samoa with my creative-gifted husband, working on raising the tourism dollar post-tsunami. Another entry to my weekly update for folks back in New Zealand, this week, involved much about giftedness – repeated here for your consumption…

Gifted ideas in Samoa tourism
The sweetcorn patch

Harvested the sweetcorn and had our first meal – what a sweet treat that was! A few meals from the beans, but the tomatoes are s-l-o-w ripening!! One nearly turning red, out of about 450 last count!!

Three months of using the long drop – not a milestone I am particularly pleased about – and I may have a flush loo in a day or two!! Continue reading “The Sweetest Sweetcorn”