What a house looks like in Samoa

From the blog Karen and Dave In Samoa

Posted Dec. 14 2010

For the last month and a half I have been living in Fusi, while Karen was in Tafitoala.  Both of these villages are in the Safata district on the south side of Upolu.  I lived in a traditional Samoan housing compound.  We had 3 large living houses and a few smaller buildings for cooking, cleaning dishes, showering, and toilet.  Aside from no running water, the largest difference is the yard.  All of the houses in Fusi have a nice traditional American style front yard, trimmed (not mowed, only weed whackers here) grass, where people can sit and chat.  The back and side yards are completely different.  They are rocky dirty wastelands devoid of vegetation.  If something starts to grow there they weed it out.  Here is a picture from inside our compound so you can get an idea.In this picture, the main house is where some people sleep.  The yellow shack on the right is the shower. The little house in the background is where we cook food, and yes that is the ocean right behind.

It is important to note that the rocks here are not nice smooth bluestone slabs, or river worn pebbles.  These are volcanic rocks that are eventually cut into nice shapes and sold in beauty salons back in the US as pumice stones.  One of the most amazing things that Samoan people can do is walk, run, play, sit, and do just about anything barefoot on these rocks.   I can tiptoe across them, very carefully.

The lack of running water is the hardest thing to get used to.  Taking a cold shower is rough, but when you have to pour that bucket of cold water over your head, taking a shower requires a whole new level of determination.  Walking half a mile for clean water is a bit of a pain, but worse things could be happening.

In our new house we should feel a bit closer to home as we are going to have running water.  Here is a wonderful picture of our new house!

In case it isn’t obvious, the back room is not yet finished, and the porch has since gotten a cement floor.  The middle room is finished.  That will be our living room/bedroom.

The host family is just one lady, who used to be a caterer in New Zealand.  The first thing she told us was “You are going to love it here because it is very quiet and you have lots of space.”  We are both very excited to move in on this coming Saturday Dec 18.

PS  I can climb a coconut tree.

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