The first thing you notice about Franklin Innes from Pennsylvania, U.S.A is his height, which almost makes his pale legs eye level with the average person.
This made it easy to spot the markings of the tatau on his legs, which caught the attention of Samoa Observer who caught up with him outside the government building yesterday in Apia.
Franklin Innes was energized to be back in Samoa.
He noted that his last trip here was 25 years ago and even though some things are still the same he has found all the changes rather delightful.
He’s come back to our shores to celebrate the Samoa Peace Corp 50 year anniversary.
This time he brought a long his daughter who has never been to Samoa and over the last week has been showing her the sights about the island and retracing his steps he made as a 21-year-old Peace Corp Volunteer in 1965.
He was a part of the first group of volunteers to arrive on the island 50 years ago.
Franklin opened up to the Observer about his experience volunteering at first in Savaii and then moving to Upolu after his first year
“I was here as part of the health and sanitation team,” he said.
“We were building fale Peace Corp but because in those days they had no piped water in Savai’i so it was unrealistic to make a fale Peace Corp for every family so in the second year I was shifted to Upolu where we made many Peace Corp fale.”
He laughs when the Observer asked him if he was recruited for his building skills.
“In those days we didn’t have volunteers who specialized in specific skills – they do now though. Back in those days we were called B.A Generalists and the only requirement is that we had a bachelor’s degree.”
He talked about how invaluable his experience in Samoa was and what lessons he took back to the U.S after his volunteering finished on the Island.
“The concept of family and community are so important to Samoans that it made me more aware of the need to establish those same concepts in the United States.”