When the going gets tough, we need all hands on the plow

They say when it rains it pours. Looking at the multiple challenges set before this nation today, one would not be wrong to feel that way.

Since last year, it has been one challenge after another it feels like we have been deliberately placed under the pump for a test that doesn’t seem to have an ending. 

As a nation, we have been challenged in the health sector, tourism, law and order, politics, religion, economy, the environment, you name it; everything appears to have been shaken. 

We feel it everywhere we go; we see it everywhere we look. There is something in the air. While some people would not like to admit it, it is in the back of their minds. The questions are endless. What do these things mean? What are these developments, as disturbing as they are, trying to teach us? Is there reason for thy madness? 

If we are honest with ourselves, it has been tough. It has been tragic. And it has been heartbreaking to see what has been unfolding before our very eyes. 

The tragedy of the measles epidemic is still very fresh, the wounds have not healed and they will not be for a long time. Keep in mind that the impact of the measles crisis extends far beyond the nation’s health and precious lives. 

The measles had impacted on every area of life on these shores. It affected education; it hurt businesses from small stall owners to the biggest businesses of them all. Tourism, which is often referred to as the mainstay of Samoa’s economy, has taken a massive hit with the cost estimated to be in the millions of tala. It’s going to take a long time to recover from this.

But just when we thought things were starting to look up after the measles, along came another challenge in the form of the coronavirus. Now this has brought its own set of problems, perhaps even more serious and profound, given the global nature of the virus and Samoa’s reliance on other countries. 

You know the story. The global lockdown has been well detailed with travel restrictions and more. Here in Samoa, the domino effect of what is happening in countries we normally do business with has been quite apparent. 

The cancellation in terms of tourism bookings, cruise ships and much, much more has been growing. Again, tourism has been hammered.

On the trade and commercial sector, the restriction of certain imports from China and other countries nearby has already been felt. If the coronavirus continues to have a grip on global commercial activities, the impact on these shores will only worsen. 

The fact is that our strong reliance on imports will make the impact even more profound because we do not control it. And there is nothing we can do from this end to change anything.

Speaking of things we cannot control, the weather is certainly one of those things. It is no secret that in this part of the world, we are still in the throes of the cyclone season where anything can happen. As this piece was being compiled, the Samoa Met Office has warned members of the public to prepare for more bad weather.

“The low pressure system that was expected to develop to the northwest of Samoa by Saturday morning remains a concern for safety,” the advisory reads. “This low pressure still has a potential to intensify into a Tropical Depression as it moves over Samoa by [...] Sunday night.”

Forecasters are also predicting another depression, to the south of the country, to become a category one cyclone by mid-week. “There is a high confidence to reach Category 1 by Wednesday night. It lies just less than 200 kilometres to the south of Samoa.”

We can only hope that something miraculous happens where all these low-pressure systems disappear and disburse. As a country, we do not need another calamity, a cyclone of all things. We have lived through enough cyclones to know how devastating they can be. Aside from the fact that they destroy and kill indiscriminately, cyclones bring diseases and sicknesses this country is just not prepared to deal with, especially so soon after the measles.

That said; we’ve highlighted only a few points above to reiterate the challenges we are facing as a nation today. These do not include the personal battles each and every one of us must be going through. We all have our battles, in our journeys, we have our mountains to climb, and some are taller than others.

Why are we talking about these? Well it’s a Sunday today, a day of reflection. It’s a day where we put down our tools of trade, look back at the week that was and do an inventory of ourselves.

What’s important is that we do not lose hope and give up. 

Yes these are difficult times but we are not here by accident. As a nation of Christians, it is our faith in God that will sustain us in times like this. It is from knowing who we are and our belief that each and everyone of us is called for a purpose that should grace us to do whatever it is we are called to do to steer our nation through these tough times. 

It doesn’t matter if you are a farmer, stay home mother, student, lawyer or the Prime Minister; we all have a job to do. What we need is quality leadership, lots of encouragement and everyone to put their hand to the plow and their best foot forward for a better Samoa. 

Have a restful Sunday Samoa, God bless!    









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