Meet Candace Ricks from Washington D.C. in the United States of America.
Candace came to know about Samoa because of world- renowned Samoan actor, Seiuli Dwayne Johnson (The Rock), who she says is “really famous in America”.
Dear Tourist met Candace at the Samoa Tourism fale yesterday while being part of a short and sweet cultural tour organised by the Samoa Tourism Authority.
“I am here for six weeks,” Candance said.
“I came to Samoa because my best friend is part of a Peace Corps programme here, so she invited me to come over to stay in Falelatai with her Samoan family, which is about a two-hour bus ride to Apia.”
Candace had no information about Samoa and she tried to Google search our nation which according to her was not really helpful.
“We all know that not much information can be retrieved from Google if we search for a particular country but to experience Samoa and learn about it is amazing.
“I am so excited that my friend invited me to come over because if I was not invited I wouldn’t have been able to come here.
“The only thing is that I do not understand the Samoan language, but so far the people I have met are really helpful and nice.
“I am actually having a great time and the Samoan family I stay with are really nice to me.
“I have watched them weave mats and prepare the Samoan umu where they made palusami and other Samoan food.
“I love eating oka and poke,” she said with a smile.
“I have explored Samoa since the day I arrived in the country. I have been to the southern part of the Island and also the places such as To Sua trench and villages that the tsunami struck in 2009.”
Apart from the local food, Candace finds the Samoan culture interesting.
“The village where I live in which is Falelatai, they have the Sā where families get together for evening family prayer. Just to see that, it is really good because everyone seems to know where everybody is and what’s going on. If I am part of this culture, I would never feel alone.
“Coming to town is one good experience for me because I had to take the bus.
Back in D.C when you ride on the bus or take a train everybody is quiet or maybe on their phones, chat with their friends and if you listen to music, you listen through your headphones but here everyone is like saying hello to you.
“People just buy drinks from side of the bus windows and the music is like crazy.”
The feel of touring the Samoa Tourism fale has prompted Candace to get a tattoo.
“Touring around here and observing handicraft works, carving and Samoan tatau makes me want to have a tattoo before I leave.
“I don’t want to get a traditional tattoo, I just want a simple tattoo with a meaning that symbolizes the culture and the people of Samoa because it will serve as a remembrance for my trip here,” she said.
Candace said it was interesting to watch the skilled men carve designs on wood.
“Two more weeks then I say goodbye to Samoa but I am definitely coming back to visit my Samoan family in Falelatai and the place I call paradise.”