Week ending July 14
July started out with the anticipation of spending time on the islands of Upolu and Savaii. We flew over on the 3rd – which was the 4th over there. It was so great to see the Budgett’s and Spencer’s again. We spent 10 days between the two islands doing the tourist things and enjoying the beauty of the each island. It is amazing how different each of the 3 major islands in Samoa are, even though they are within 40 miles of each other. We took the ferry between Upolu and Savaii – it took about an hour and it cured me of the desire to take the ferry from Tutuila to Upolu (an 8 hour trip).
We enjoyed the ride, but 1 hour was long enough. For the difference it costs to fly I am
willing to pay the extra. While we were
there we had the blessing of being able to attend the temple a couple of
times. We were able to do endowments as
well as sealings. What a blessing the
temple is to us!
|On the ferry from Upolu to Savaii|
We even did some missionary work while we were there. We got a call one morning while in Savaii that an elder was vomiting up blood and needed to be taken to the hospital. The hospital there is like in Tutula – long lines and questionable care – but we are just happy to have medical facilities, no matter how limited. When we went back to the mission office in Apia (on the island of Upolu), we spent one morning helping in the office. In the middle of it all Sister Leota came in and asked us to help her dress a wound from a dog bite one of the sister missionaries had received on the back of her knee. I pictured a puncture wound or some torn flesh, but because she hadn’t said anything for two weeks by the time she reported it, it had turned into an open wound about the size of a baseball. The skin was completely gone and the infection was deep into the muscle. I can’t imagine how it hurt when we cleaned it and applied the dressing.
While we were on Savaii we had lunch on a little secluded beach.
The owner of the property charged us 10 Tala
(about $5.00) for the four of us to eat on his beach. He brought us a little picnic table and while
we were sitting there, he climbed up a coconut tree and cut four coconuts. When they are just picked they are called NIU
(pronounced new). He cut them open and
we drank the coconut water. It was so
They say that coconut water is the
purest water you can drink. We buy niu’s
here, but to have one so fresh was a real treat. That afternoon was something out of the
movies – a tropical beach, coconut tree climbers, snorkeling, eating native
food and just enjoying the beauties of this beautiful country. We spent our one-year anniversary at the most
beautiful beach resort. We snorkeled,
swam and then had a delicious dinner at the restaurant. Budgett’s, who we stayed with in Savaii (they
teach at Viola – the church school on the island) wanted to take us swimming in
another waterfall, but the transmission started acting up on the car and we
didn’t want to get stranded at the bottom of a hill on a dirt road – which is
where we would have had to go to get to the waterfall. We visited the Blow-Holes
where a little
Samoan man threw coconuts into the holes and when the water came into the hole
the coconuts shot several hundred feet in the air.
They are like geysers in Yellowstone, but with
ocean water. We have some great memories of that beautiful island. We swam with seaturtles and even saw Rainbow
Gum Trees. There were three of them
growing right next to each other, and as far as they know they are the only
ones in Samoa.
|Cheryl Budgett and Susan enjoying lunch on the beach|
|I wasn't hesitating about drinking the NIU - just trying to decide|
how to drink it without spilling - it was really full...
See The Coconut...
|Swimming With the Turtles|
Upolu, where the mission headquarters and then temple are located proved to have more to see and do than we had time to experience.
We visited Sauniatu, where the first church school was built In Samoa.
President David O. McKay said
when he visited there that it was the most beautiful place on earth. The Church owns about 750 acres there. Besides the school, there is a chapel, a
cemetery, and a beautiful fale named for President McKay. It was damaged during the cyclone in
December, but they had just finished rebuilding it a couple of days before we
visited. They also have a CAMP - yes, I was able to experience Girl's Camp in Samoa.
There is also a waterfall there – that we swam
|David O. McKay Fale in Sauniatu|
|Dennis & Susan in Sauniatu Waterfall|
|Fruit Noni Juice is made from...|
We visited a place called the Trenches and swam in a caldron where the only access is down a long ladder.
When I first saw
the ladder I wasn’t sure, but it was worth every step. I just didn’t look down…. We saw several waterfalls that we didn’t swim
in, just enjoyed their beauty. One place
where they demonstrated several Samoan customs had a waterfall that was
actually three falls.
|This was SO AWESOME!!!|
|Notice the 3 Waterfalls...|
None of the ‘tourist sites’ are owned by the country of Samoa, but are owned by the villages where they are located, and the people earn their living through tourism. Even the beaches are village owned and so you pay a small fee to use them.
We say and did so much in the ten days we were there and came away with so many memories. But we have to admit, that after 10 days we were ready to get back to Tutuila and our mission duties.