Samoa is basically home for Kiwi-couple Norma and Ron Ebsworth.
This is their fourth visit to Samoa, and this time it’s a special trip for the couple.
They explained that they wanted to personally fly to Samoa and visit Aleipata School because six months after Tsunami hit Samoa about 35 years ago, Ron was involved in rebuilding the school.
Ron told the Dear Tourist team he wanted to come and see the nine classrooms and the host family he had stayed with for three months during the rebuilding phase.
They flew in from Auckland on Sunday and visited the school.
“It was interesting to see how they expand it, it is really good. When we started in Lalomanu there was nothing,” Ron said.
Because they frequently visit Samoa, they highlighted some visible changes.
Norma pointed out a number of restaurants, cafes evident in Apia, which according to her husband was not the same 35 years ago.
Ron said there were also more street lights around Apia compared to when they were rebuilding the school.
“It is a kind of natural charm I think that it lost over the past years, the people are still lovely, and it’s just a different way now, the atmosphere in Samoa is very different.
“I guess it changed because people see tourism as a source of income. I think if it changes too much it won’t be Samoa anymore,” Ron said.
Norma added: “So you have to get that balance. I think it is okay for cities to grow because people expect a certain amount of offers.”
Norma said the only thing that could be improved in Apia is the number of public washrooms.
Ron pointed out the amount of rubbish he saw around the streets is something that needs to be changed and is not good for tourists, locals and the environment.
They said this could be their last trip to Samoa, but if there was something to return to, it would be the authentic Samoan culture.