Visitors shocked seeing broken home next to 'amazing' church
A couple visiting Samoa have expressed shock seeing dilapidated family homes next to “amazing” church buildings, saying portions of the funding for the new church building should have been given to families to build better homes.
Australian Steven Paul and his wife Dainne Walls flew to Samoa last Sunday.
They have enjoyed the sights and sounds of the country since their arrival, which included visits to the beaches, waterfalls and popular attractions such as the Tosua Trench, Piula Cave Pool and Robert Louis Stevenson Museum.
Dainne, 39, told the Samoa Observer that they have had a wonderful time since their arrival.
“We went on a beautiful tour that the tour guide took us to the water, Tosua Trench, Robert Louis Stevenson Museum and the Cave Pool which were great,” she said.
“Most interesting for us was having a drive on the west-coast of the island and having lunch at the Le Vasa Resort.”
Steven, 43, said hearing stories of Samoa from a friend compelled him to make plans to visit the island.
“One of my friends, who was here in Samoa for a holiday and hearing her saying how amazing it was, so I had in mind ever since I spoke to her that it is a place that we would like to come,” he said.
Their holiday started on a right note with their driver giving a brief on Samoa upon their arrival in the country, which got them captivated.
Steven said he asked their tour guide about his family and added that he wanted to experience Samoan traditional family meals.
“I like talking to the tour guide about his family and what is a traditional meals look like and what he does with his family when he gets home from work. He took us to his family and where he is from had a beautiful view.”
But it was their drive on the west coast of Upolu that was an eye opener with Steven saying what he saw in the villages was not what he expected in Samoa.
“It was not what I expected because some villages seemed like they live in undeveloped areas and some do.”
Their drive took them past church buildings in villages with the Australian couple expressing shock at the contrast between an “amazing” church building and a deteriorating family home just next door.
“Seeing how much part religion plays in the community and the everyday life of the people and also the amount of churches here in Samoa,” added Dainne.
“The money they used to build the churches, they could have given to help the family whose house can hardly stand. Some villagers are living in poverty right besides a really nice beautiful church building.”
She said they saw evidence of poverty in some of the local villages that they drove past.
Despite being witness to the country’s development challenges including poverty, the Australian couple said their visit to Samoa was worth it.
They returned to Australia on Saturday after spending a week here.