National Geographic : 1962 Oct
Sometimes it proved to be quite a while. Father would finish his work; mother would finish doing her hair. They would pack some food to take along to the relatives, or roll up some mats. Then they would stroll to the bus. The bus driver never complained. Samoans don't believe in running a fool's race with time and heat. These long stops gave me plenty of time to see the quiet, scattered villages-mainly along the seacoast, beneath volcanic ranges. Samoans still live much as they have always lived, in easy harmony with soil and sea (right). Necessities of Life Come Easy These islands have no housing shortage. Any able-bodied man can build and thatch a fale. Clothing? A lava-lava-a couple of yards of bright material-suffices, except for a spot less white suit or frock for church on Sun days. Food is seldom a problem. Villagers cultivate taro, yam, breadfruit, and papaya; poultry, pork, and fish supplement their diet. It's no wonder Samoans can surrender to an amiably timeless life. "You're very quiet," Albert said suddenly. "What are you thinking?" "Just how easy it would be to get off this bus," I said. "And take a fale for myself, by the sea." "I thought you weren't here to find para dise," Albert chided, smilingly. "You're get ting the papalagi disease!" I was shaken out of my dream. For reassur ance I looked for signs of modern Samoa and found schools and hospitals built by vil lagers themselves, eager for good health and education for their children. A vigorous health service, I learned, has encouragingly reduced disease and infant mortality. I also saw, everywhere, quiet industry: Old women weaving baskets and mats from palm leaf, preparing tapa cloth from the bark of Laundry and Bathers Wash Together Beneath the Palms of Faleasi'u Wall-less with thatched roofs, Samoan hous es hide no secrets. Occupants work and sleep in full view of their neighbors, al though they lower palm-frond blinds against foul weather. Builders use few nails; they lash the frames with coconut fiber. Despite their flimsy appearance, fales withstand gale winds. Many have electric lights and radios. This seaside villa fronts Upolu's north shore. 588 KODACHROMEBY ROBERTB. GOODMAN© N.G .S.