National Geographic : 1985 Oct
This was the Sunday when a collection was taken for the pastor's monthly salary. Toward the end of the service, as is the cus tom, a deacon rose and read out the names of the donors and how much each had given. The total came to $3,200. Later Ili told me that the pastor's house and food were pro vided by the village. "I don't know what he does with the money," he said. "There are people here who have a monthly income of $200 and give the pastor half of that." I spoke with the Samoan pastor, a Rever end Salatielu, a burly man in his 60s. His fa ther and grandfather had been preachers before him. He liked Ofu. "The people are very generous," he said. HE NEXT DAY I bade Ili tofa and boarded a boat for Tutuila. Seven hours later we nosed into Pago Pago's bay. Most imposing of the islands, Tu tuila rises abruptly from the sea like the fabled Bali Hai. It is stunningly green; the bay area averages 200 inches of rain a year. The bay, which nearly splits Tutuila in two, is actually the caldera from a series of prehistoric eruptions (all the islands are vol canic). The harbor, one of the deepest and best protected in the Pacific, was what orig inally drew U. S. interest and impelled the Navy to open a coaling depot here around 1900. In 1951 the Navy turned the territory over to the Department of the Interior.