Samoans are naturally generous people; they are giving and often do so without waiting for anything in return.
On a recent trip to Samoa for a family reunion I couldn’t help but notice the extravagant churches on the island. I was taken back even more at the cost of these churches some reaching into the millions and to my surprise it was the congregation that raised this money.
My top 4 reasons why culture has caused this hardship:
1. People give what they don’t have to religious institutions at their own suffering. The religious institutions instead of having simple churches want to out do each other at the cost of hardship for their members
2. There is a culture of corruption in your government which flows down to other departments. The amount of foreign financial aid Samoa receives from other nations is falling short of the public. Politicians, police, and Justice system lining their pockets with Chinese bribes and mismanaged aid. The sad thing is, it’s the people that miss out, the rich get richer and the poor..oh well life’s tough.
3. The beauty of simplicity, that’s what the islands are all about!! Yet we live beyond our means. The demands of culture are real from fa’alavelave’s, church, government, family the list goes on. One rule our dad taught us was “if you can’t afford it don’t buy it” so it may mean breaking the cultural norms and saying to family “I’m sorry this is all I can give”. It’s always easy getting things on a loan or credit but remember you have to pay it back at some stage. Live within your means.
4. Our giving hearts. Who hasn’t had an aunty or an uncle say “here’s $20 go buy yourself an ice-cream?” it’s just a part of who we are. It’s hard to save when we are always so giving.
Samoan people are amongst the most generous people I know. From the examples above we will give even if it means my family may go hungry. It’s ok to think of yourself once in a while to look after yourself first at times, I know I know, hard to do.
As I look around Samoa it is evident that there is true hardship, and it is also evident that change needs to come from the top. Our leaders do not show the discipline, honesty and the integrity to represent the people. Until these corrupt leeches are voted out there will always be hardship.