Samoans. Travel impressions.
The first thing I was struck with in Samoa were the ocean and terrestrial colors, coupled with the friendly sunny mood of the people and gentle pace of life. I felt an irresistible desire to photograph that, without any particular project in mind. So here is the collection of my visual impressions about the people of Samoa. More detailed stories about nature, events, craftsmanship and particular projects would be follow.
Relax on beaches
Samoans like to spend their free time on seaside beaches with their families and friends. They usually eat a lot of food and enjoy picnics. I have not seen them swimming, just relaxing and playing in shallow waters. And I know that they are fearless fish hunters in open sea, good divers. I asked my friends- why is that? "...well what is the point in wasting energy on useless activity like swimming strokes of various styles? It gives you neither fish, nor rest" – A rather practical mindset.
Kids are amazing everywhere. Here they live in a tropical paradise, where they express their joy and curiosity.
I visited National University of Samoa several times, had discussions with lecturers, professors, officials, talked to musicians and observed school pupils in their colorful uniforms.There is a visible influence in their society of imported elements from Western culture and values. Samoans put a lot of efforts in education of the young generation, they are encouraged to stay and work in Samoa. Choices of young and educated Samoans will shape the future of their country.
Youth and beauty
Open smile, relaxed moods makes attractive Samoans even more catching, appealing to make a photo.
Proud and friendly, Samoans live in harmony with nature according to old community customs. The best way to experience traditional way of life, called Fa’a Samoa (The Samoan Way) is to visit their villages. Just observe and respect local customs and you will be welcomed to visit their fales, gardens, plantations, talk to villagers and matais (chiefs). Especially memorable was my visit to the largest village of Savai'e island - Falealupo.
Family at cooking place
Along the roads
Road passes through colorful seaside and inland villages, where Samoans live openly, giving chance to see their life a little closer. Roads are often used by villagers for socializing and walking. They provide great opportunity to spot various characters, to wave, smile and return a friendly “Talofa”.
Events, sports activities
Samoans proudly display their culture and skills – in dancing, singing, performing, taking part in competitions and entertaining themselves. They enjoy sports activities, like volleyball, playing in every village at the cooler time of evening. But again – they play mostly to relax and enjoy the activity, not to achieve great results or to form a strong national team.
On Apia streets
On Apia (capital city) streets, as well as everywhere in Samoa, you meet many large-bodied, overweight persons - men and women, boys and girls. It seems that traditional Samoan ideas about beauty are slightly different from those we are accustomed to. According to traditional Samoan view a large body suggests dignity, respect, indicates prosperity. Most Samoans I met, indeed, were physically strong and their handshakes prove just that. I like the way they smile - with the whole body, openly, almost like kids - but large and powerful ones. Fresh, colorful hibiscus flowers, placed in their hair complement their smile and relaxed mood.
Craftsmen, artists, leaders
Robert Louis Stevenson, famous Scottish writer settled in Samoa in the early 1890s with his family and is greatly respected by Samoans. He is the author of the book Treasure Island. This name- Treasure Island- is well suited for Samoa because of its natural beauty, but even more - for their people. Here I met amazing people – friendly, intelligent, open minded, striving to preserve intangible cultural heritage and to facilitate better education and future prospects for Samoans. I had the honor to meet the Head of State and we even had a brief discussion about Russian literature. I learned a lot about indigenous religious beliefs and their interplay with Christianity, about traditional craftsmanship, social practices and rituals. Below are portraits of some Samoans.
Tui Atua Tufua Tamasese Efi and his visitors