Samoa’s strong cultural bond is what makes it unique from other tourist destinations around the world.
Scott Doddrell, who is visiting Samoa for the fourth time, said this when he spoke to the Dear Tourist team yesterday.
A youth worker for Word of Life, an international organisation that works with youth groups and local churches in New Zealand, Scott flew into the country with a group of high school students to give them exposure to Samoan culture and help them understand how they can share their faith.
Their last week has been spent sleeping in Samoan traditional huts, learning the language, swimming and tasting traditional Samoan dishes.
“The students got to learn some Samoan words and we’ve been to some high schools and churches. We spent a week at Faofao Beach Fales located in Saleapaga where we got to experience sleeping in Samoan traditional huts and swimming in the ocean,” he said.
“The traditional Samoan foods have a distinctive yet refreshing taste, you are drawn by the smells and then you are completely lost in such exceptional and exquisite tastes. I love the Samoan people, its family culture, we can learn so much from the way Samoans live. The Samoans have so much compassion and love for their families, whether it is nuclear or extended.”
Scott said his group has also done some sightseeing and visited the Papaseea Sliding Rocks and Piula cave pools. But it is the respect that Samoans have for their elders and happiness founded on the basics of life that has amazed the visitors.
“The way the elders are respected, cared for it really is a beautiful sight. In New Zealand and western countries, we’re losing that aspect, so it’s really good to see that here. You have to be content with whatever you have and it is evident in the eyes of the people who do not have a lavish lifestyle to have happy smiles on their faces all the time,” he added.
The 46-year-old said his only concern is the dogs barking at night and making it difficult to get a proper rest. He returns to New Zealand today with the hope of coming again one day, and this time with his wife.