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Visiting Samoa – No Consuming on the Run, It is Simply Not Allowed

Visiting Samoa - No Eating on the Run, It's Just Not Allowed

Visiting Samoa – No Eating on the Run, It’s Just Not Allowed

Samoa is believed to be the oldest of all the Polynesian cultures, with the islanders arriving on the shores of Samoa some 3000 years ago. The cultural practice of fa’asamoa (fah-ah-sah-maw-ah) has developed over these three thousand years and is simply translated as ‘the Samoan way’.

So what is the Samoan way? Well, I could explain it in just one word, respect.

Samoan’s are a very proud yet humble race, if such a description is possible. They hold their fa’asamoa very dear to their hearts and nothing will earn you their friendship more than by showing respect.

My Mother always said, making others comfortable is a sign of a good host, and Islanders are quintessentially good hosts. If you are ever lucky enough to visit this beautiful group of islands you can show your respect in return in a few simple ways.

For example, walking while eating and drinking is considered uncouth in Samoa. This was something my dear Samoan husband had neglected to tell me before my first visit there. While walking down the street in the capitol of Apia one day, I grabbed a banana, as you do, out of my bag, and proceeded to peel it and eat as we were heading to the market. I have to say I was not aware of any glares of disgust from the locals, my blonde hair and white skin must have helped me get away with it, but my husband quickly told me to pop it back in my bag and save it for later, explaining as we went that I was being really rude.

Naturally my first reaction was, what’s the big deal, it’s just a banana! It seemed a little petty to make an issue of such an every day act of eating on the run. Time is of the essence you know, multitasking is the word of the day, time waits for no man, why do tomorrow what you can do today? And then my own initial offence turned to simple acceptance of a logical practice.

In Samoa you see, food is a blessing, one that we sit down to partake of in gratitude for what we have. To walk around chomping away shows no gratitude and no respect for those around you. But to me it was a reminder that time should not be of the essence, multitasking was the bane of western existence and why should I do today what I could put off till tomorrow?

I had discovered that in Samoa, life was exactly as it should be, with a time and place for everything.

just host
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