If you still think I am going to Somalia, this is the post for you! Take out your notebooks, sharpen your pencils, and grab a cup of coffee or two – it’s time to learn.
At this point, I’ve directed you to experiment with Google Maps to see how AmSam compares in size to the rest of the world. It’s just so cute and tiny, right? Aw. As small as it is, it has a lot to offer.
§ AmSam is a tropical island.
o In 2006, Islands named Ofu Beach (on one of the outer islands) one of the 30 best undiscovered beaches in the world. I can’t wait to visit that!
o Tropical = palm trees complete with coconuts, warm weather, beaches, sunrises/sunsets…okay, you get the drift.
o Tropical = humidity, sunburn, bugs…sooo many bugs: mosquitoes, spiders, scary/huge/massive/frightening centipedes (I’m talking colossal size), vicious wild and domestic dogs (previous volunteers have had to walk around with pipes and large rocks in their hands for protection – oh yay!), etc.
o Lesson to learn: No matter where you go, there is always going to be something beautiful as well as something that might test your limits a little more than you would like: embrace it, go with the flow, and maybe wear some bug spray and sunscreen.
§ AmSam is an island full of football.
o Someone (can’t remember who or where I read it) made a joke that football players are the biggest export from the Samoan islands.
o According to an article on espn.com, 200+ Samoans play in Division I football. Holy smokes. That same article said, “It has been estimated that a Samoan boy is 40 times more likely to reach the NFL than a boy growing up in the United States.”
o To read the article, follow this link: "American football, Samoan style"
§ AmSam is home to a Starkist tuna factory.
o Tuna is one of the main exports from the island.
o Next time you make a tuna sandwich, see where the fish comes from!
§ AmSam is a territory of the United States.
o According to AmSamoa Tourism, AmSam has been a U.S. territory since April 17, 1900. The island was used during WWII, where it held a naval base, hospitals, landing strips, and protection/retaliation against the Japanese.
o The island chain uses U.S. currency as well as our postal system. It costs the same to mail a letter to me in Sycamore as it will when I am in American Samoa. How freaking awesome/way cool/crazy is that? Also, packages can be sent for similar prices as well. *Hint Hint*
o AmSam is home to a National Park!
o The temperature ranges from high 70’s to low 90’s throughout the year. The average annual rainfall is anywhere from 150 to 300 INCHES A YEAR. Whoa.
o AmSam is extremely religious. Way back when, Christian missionaries paid the islands a visit and converted as many people as they could. The majority of the island is Christian but other denominations include Mormon, Catholic, and a few others. Because of this, the dress code is conservative. Women are not allowed to wear swimsuits, shorts that are shorter (punny) than the knee, and tank tops with tiny straps.
Alright, class is over for the day. I hope you were able to learn something from my little list of facts. I can’t wait to share my own experiences with all of these things in 29 DAYS!
Update 1: I have added a “subscribe” box on the top right of the blog. Enter your email address, follow the steps, and my blog will show up in your email whenever I update it. Link back to the blog to read it though. Who wants to read a blog update from an email? BORING!
Update 2: Confused about how to comment? Scroll all the way down…I added some directions.