My experiences in Samoa were challenging, a Palagi being a target from the outset due to the widespread perception that the colour of my skin made me a millionaire. That would be fine except for the hugely draining sense of entitlement that permeated Samoa.
I fulfill the role of the prophet, speaking forth the wisdom entrusted me, more than the predictive. Connecting the Dots however contained both analysis of the crisis of the day plus predictions. These predictions came to pass, of course.
Prime Minister Tuila’epa liked my ideas and (until compromised) supported SWAP, the Samoa Web Ambassadors Programme [logo on the book].
I established Samoa Escrow as an online & physical service to ex-pat Samoans wishing to have a local Palagi issue funds only when [primarily] building services were required. Samoa Builders.com created our business. Builders there were notorious for taking money and failing to deliver. Escrow services are critical for business when trust is absent. Samoan lawyers too had difficulty being trusted. We attempted to work with a local bank, but failed.
Samoa Village Stays was my highest profile business that generated huge goodwill. Taking Palagi into rural Samoa was an exceedingly difficult challenge but had a stunning impact when both cultures had a positive attitude.
I launched Club Samoa as a concept to bring foreign investment into Samoa. Club Wairua is our New Zealand equivalent. My Samoan version of community focussed on the culture. Our NZ version is focussed on budget housing.
My base in Samoa was a 5 acre block that we leased from the Samoan government in Falelauniu (East Aleisa) on which we built a backpackers – Camp Samoa.
Over the years hundreds of volunteers came to Samoa and enjoyed learning how to cook on fire, build houses out of sticks and thatched roofing, dig taro, feed, tend and eat pigs; grow bananas and generally live the Samoan way. Say, “WWOOF!”
Many acknowledged that I was more Samoan than the Samoans and it was a joy to see Palagi experience rural Samoa. Cross cultural challenges were huge, with guests appreciating the hard work I put in, notably in direct proportion to their humility. Those ‘up themselves’ who knew how things should be in a foreign country appreciated my efforts less than those who were prepared to listen and learn.