Savai’i in 48 hours - through the lens of a volunteer
You will love it. Savai’i is the real paradise.
That’s what everyone said to me about the big island when they were told about my weekend trip to Samoa’s biggest island with fellow volunteers.
I was told to expect less stress, fewer cars, people and entertainment than in Upolu.
And that’s precisely what I found. From the moment I stepped off the boat at Salelologa, everywhere I went, the island seemed so untouched and peaceful. Even at the two resorts it was quiet.
Everybody was enjoying their off-time.
When my fellow volunteers and I were driving around the island, it felt like forever until another car passed our way. It was a nice experience to just drive around without being bothered by other cars, cross-overs or traffic lights.
In Apia and the villages around town, we were used to seeing many taxis and full buses. But not in Savai’i.
We were lucky to have a tour guide with a van to explore the island and get most of our two days there. After all, we are tourists desperate to see the greatest sights in Samoa.
Churches and primary schools were the two types of buildings very visible in Savai’i.
To have another primary school every few kilometers is unbelievable for somebody coming from Europe, where you have children from several villages studying together in one big school.
Sadly it was Saturday and we did not see the happy kids playing in their colorful uniforms during breaks, which we have already seen around Apia.
On Sunday we drove past people coming out of the churches in their white and green clothes. Like in Upolu, every church is significantly unique and very impressive for Europeans.
Many people were outside. Children were playing with what they could get their hands on; people were resting in their fales or going for a walk with families and friends. I did not expect to see a lot of pigs and horses in Savai’i.
We drove past so many of them and I smiled everytime little pigs crossed our way. What really shocked me though, was how thin and unhealthy the horses and cats looked compared to ours back home.
The Alofa’aga Blowholes were really impressive and I especially liked the romantic story our tour guide told us about them. The son of Tonga’s king once came to Savai’i. When he arrived, he met an older and a younger Samoan woman at the rocks.
He fell in love with the older one. They were happy together.
But when her father found out that he was from Tonga, he sent him back to his island in a canoe. Before leaving, he told his lady that the blowing of the wind represents his love for her.
She answered when the waves are blowing up; she is sending her love back to him. This was a very touching story, which I thought about while looking at the water blowing up.
I enjoyed the loneliness. With everything being so quiet, I had the feeling that I have all the time in the world. Now I could really understand why people in Samoa are so happy and kind.
They enjoy life to the limit and take their time doing it. I got really inspired and I think western countries should adopt this thinking, as life at home is full of stress and anger.
Savai’i is so different within. The sights we visited, the Afu Aau Waterfall, the blowholes, Lovers Leap, the Falealupo Forest with the Canopy Walkway, the swimming with turtles and the fantastic beach at the Vaimoana Seaside Lodge, were all so unique.
Could I say which island I like better?
No, for that, my visit to Savai’i was too short. I have the feeling I got to see a lot of places on the island for only being there 48 hours, yet I did not have the time to get to know the people and issues they are dealing with every day. But I am definitely sure about one thing - people from Savai’i, you are living in a beautiful place. Treasure it!
*Alina is a Volunteer from Germany who is in Samoa with Projects Abroad. She is serving her time in Samoa with the Samoa Observer.