Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Survived!!

Polynesian Airlines flight to Pago
We survived our trip to American Samoa.  Ever since I first saw the plane land at the airport I made up my mind that I never wanted to be on that plane when it lands or takes off.  I have visited the airport (Fagalii) at least twice a week since we have been here to pickup and send mail to Pago and to pick people up and drop them off.  Every time I have looked at the studied the plane I have seen something about it that did not inspire confidence.  But, we were assigned by President Leota to visit Pago do handle some items of business for the mission so we went. If the plane is full it holds 20 people plus a crew of 2 if the weight limit isn't exceeded.  They weigh the luggage and the people and once they hit the weight limit they either stop loading luggage or people or both depending on the situation. Usually it's luggage. 
Inside the plane
Northeast coast of Upolu
Pago Harbor
The trip was surprisingly smooth and the view was spectacular.  We flew east along the north coast of the island and got an aerial view of  the coast we love to drive along.  You can see the wheel of the airplane in the picture on the right.  We arrived in Pago a half hour later and were met by the Zone Leaders at the airport.  We accomplished our duties which included fixing the wireless Internet in the home used by the couple who serves in American Samoa.  The home is currently unoccupied so we stayed there.  It was quite a change for us.  It has 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.  We had the pleasure of entertaining the Elder & Sister Preece one night while we were there.  They were travelling home to Utah and flew to Pago to catch the midnight special to Hawaii.  There aren't alot of international options from Apia or Pago.  Most of the options from Apia are to New Zealand and Australia.  We also picked up some canned chicken at a store called Cost U Less which is run by Costco.  Some people call it Cost U More but we liked it.  We also purchased some more chocolate chips and some cheese.  The actually city of Pago is quite small and is situated along a large harbor.  To drive inland around the harbor is probably 10-15 miles.  It is a beautiful drive.  There is a Starkist tuna factory along the harbor complete with a statue of Charlie Tuna outside the plant.

We returned home on Thursday in time to help move back into our office at the mission home.  We have new carpeting, which I can hardly wait to take a nap on, and fresh paint.

Robert Louis Stevenson's Home
Saturday we took a trip to the Robert Louis Stevenson museum. Robert Louis Stevenson was very ill most of his life with lung problems.  He is from Scotland, which is another country near and dear to my heart. The climate in Samoa made him feel better so he settled in Samoa in 1889.  He purchased 400 acres in Vailima and built a home and established a plantation. The Samoan People loved him and he loved them and advised them in their desire to achieve independence. The German government threatened to deport him because of his political activities and some of his writings supporting the Samoan people. He died in 1894 and his widow sold the home to a German and went back to San Francisco where she was from. The home was used by German governor of Samoa until World War I and by the New Zealand high commissioner  to Samoa until 1962.  When Samoa gained it's independence in 1962 it became the home of the Samoan Head of State.  In 1992 it was badly damaged by a hurricane and abandoned by the government of Samoa.  A returned missionary, who served in Samoa during the late 1950's,  bought the home and paid to have it restored.  It opened as a museum on Stevenson's birthday in 1994.  After the tour we climbed Mt. Vaea to the tomb of Robert Louis Stevenson. He wrote his own epitaph:
A tired hiker on the tomb of RLS
Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie
Glad did I live an gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will
This be the verse you grave for me,
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor home from the sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.


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