Interest in Samoan culture attracts couple

By Anina Kazaz ,

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SEEING BOTH SIDES OF SAMOA: Shirley Eliott and her partner Jim Palmer recognize the beauty and struggles of the country.

SEEING BOTH SIDES OF SAMOA: Shirley Eliott and her partner Jim Palmer recognize the beauty and struggles of the country. (Photo: Anina Kazaz)

Meet former Kiwi teacher, Shirley Eliott. 

It’s her first time in Samoa with her partner, Jim, and so far they’ve enjoyed their stay since their arrival on September 5. 

The Samoan community back in Auckland was a reason they came because her students were mostly Samoans, so her interest in the culture also grew. 

For the past few days they were in Savaii and have enjoyed swimming.

Because they love swimming, they agreed that the water in Samoa is much warmer and clearer, and the beaches clearer compared to their home. 

Her experiences allowed her to see first-hand the struggles Samoan families’ face, which makes their lives difficult. 

“There is still a lot for me to learn about the culture/country, but it is really difficult I think for families here. I saw Samoans at other places and how well they are doing, so strong and focused,” Shirley said.

Referring to yesterday’s front page story on family violence, she said family violence is one reason families could be struggling.

She says there are certain places where family struggle is not noticeable such as where they are staying – Taumeasina Island Resort. 

“I think especially at this location (Taumeasina Island Resort) we don’t see people’s struggle at all. The ones here are very lucky having a job, so we have no idea what others have to go through,” Shirley said. 

“It makes me wonder when I see the nice shiny roofs of the churches how the priorities are settled. There are so many of them in every block as well,” Shirley said.

They leave next week and hope to return.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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