Cultural exchange for German tourists

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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LEARNING THE TRADITIONAL WAYS: Pa’ugata helps give friends Brigit and Klaus the best authentic cultural experience in Samoa.

LEARNING THE TRADITIONAL WAYS: Pa’ugata helps give friends Brigit and Klaus the best authentic cultural experience in Samoa.

In the siapo making fale at the S.T.A. village, we meet a bright and bubbly couple in Klaus and Birgit Michel.

They were engaged in a lively conversation in their native German tongue with Pa’ugata from Falealili - which at first could confuse the observer (much to their amusement) until all three of them let us in on their inside joke.

“We came to visit here with our friend Pa’ugata who comes from Samoa,” said Klaus.  

“She came to live in our village in Germany and so we spend time with her by coming to Samoa for three weeks.  It’s a very nice island, the houses and the gardens are very clean.” 

“We like the people because they are all friendly. We know Pa’ugata who lives in our hometown in Germany and we have been friends for 15 years.”

Pa’ugata explained how she came to be friends and eventually like family with the Michel family.

“I am married to a German and we have three children,” she said. 

“We have lived in Germany for 20 years and we made friends there with the Michel family who wanted to holiday here in Samoa, so I have accompanied them back here to help show them around and make them feel welcome because they made me feel welcomed back in Germany. We have been staying in Poutasi Falealili and they love it.”

Birgit was enjoying their visit to Samoa and for them it was special to be able to see and experience where their dear friend, Pa’ugata, originated from.

“For us, it’s best for us to just live with Pa’ugata’s family and to learn about the traditional way of life and culture,” she said. 

“We had a car for three days and we had a look at the beaches and nice places. We like all the fresh fruits like the coconuts and papaya.”

The Michel’s wished they could bring their whole family to experience Pa’ugata’s home and have an authentic experience but they hoped that in the future, despite the long and expensive flight, their family members might make it out here because it was worth it. 

Dear Tourist asked Klaus whether he had any final thoughts on Samoa. 

“We like to stay in the kitchen house and we have cooked already the umu and it tasted very good. We have tried all the different tastes of Samoa and it’s very good.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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