First Things First in Samoa.
American Samoa is about a five-hour flight by jet almost due south from Hawaii. It is, in any number of ways, a unique place. Tropical, quite beautiful, and with a unique and fascinating culture.
Samoa itself is about as “laid back” as it’s possible to be and, in fact, that’s really an inadequate description of how things sometimes go there.
With some help from George Wray of South Pacific Island Airways (see previous post) my advertising agency had acquired the Samoan Office of Tourism as a client. One of the projects we had undertaken was the design of a new logo for that office and I had sent several design options down to Pago Pago by mail for their review.
I had waited more than two weeks, but we still had had no feedback. Because there were some impending deadlines, I called our contact at the Office of Tourism to see if a decision had been made. He said that they had never received the art work, but that he would check to see if the packet might have gone to some other office by mistake.
Several days later, I got a call back with an explanation. Apparently, it was the responsibility of a specific woman on the governor’s staff to go to the post office every day and collect the government’s mail—that is, the mail for there entire Samoan government. She, however, was on leave because a cousin was getting married on an adjacent island.
It seems, the explanation continued, that this particular woman was responsible for making the cousin’s wedding dress which, of course, required several days for the design and fittings and alterations. Then, of course, there was the wedding itself and a day or two of recuperation that would necessarily follow that event. So you see, I was assured, the art work had not been lost after all, merely delayed for an entirely valid reason.
Imagine that : the Office of Tourism—and apparently some of the other government offices, too—had received no mail for several days and no one was concerned enough to find out why.
Fa’a Samoa … delivered with a smile and a shrug, means, very roughly, “Well, that’s Samoa for you!” And who’s to say they haven’t got their priorities straight?