Sunday, February 8, 2015

Black Sand Beach

Angela under the tree
The weekend after we got to Samoa (Jan 17), we were invited to go to one of the black sand beaches with several other senior couples.  Only one of the couples had been to this particular beach, and it’s probably a good thing, otherwise I think most would have decided there is an easier way to see sand in Samoa.  Only after we got back and saw a map did we realize the road there is one of two that say “4-wheel drive only”.  After 1 ½ miles of the worst road and densest forest we have seen, we arrived at the beach.  It’s not a “true” black sand beach, with a mixture of volcanic material mixed with brown sand. When we would walk along the water’s edge, we would sink 4 inches into the sand.  As with most places in Samoa, it was very pretty.  And this beach was deserted (I wonder why). 

Footsteps in the sand
Arriving at the beach

A little wet due to the rain 
 All beach property, including this one is owned by a village, and before you swim or snorkel, it is proper to seek out the local matai (village chief) or someone in the village, to pay a usage fee.  The cost can range from 10-20 Tala (about $5-10) per car to 10-20 Tala per person.  Many of the couples brought snorkeling gear, which they generously offered to us to use.  We politely declined this time, but may get the snorkeling bug as we acclimatize ourselves to the island life.  January is one of the rainiest months for Samoa, so true to form, it rained the whole time we were there.  It was still fun getting to know our new friends and having some time off before we start learning our new assignment.

Some of the other couples we went with 
Just fyi, we have 9 US/Canada couples here in Apia (in addition to a number of Samoan temple and maintenance missionaries).  Sounds like a lot, but everyone is busy and we could use more.
Elder and Sister Jackson – mission office couple. They leave in June, no replacement has been identified.
Elder and Sister Roos – PEF (Perpetual Education Fund).  They leave this month with no replacement.  We are picking up the bulk of what they are doing in addition to our calling as education specialists.
Elder and Sister Hammond – ITEP (International Teachers Education Program).  They coordinate and teach at the church schools here on the island of Upolu.  They leave in July.
Elder and Sister Stonehocker – ITEP.  They do the same thing as the Hammonds for the island of Savaii.
Elder and Sister Jacobs – Area Audit missionaries, here until November.
Elder and Sister Harper – Serving a 6 month "bridging" mission in systems technology, leaving this month.  They came after two other couples were not able to come due to health reasons.  Their replacements come in May. 
Elder and Sister Layne – Serving 18 months providing dental services to missionaries and others for free.  They leave in May.

Elder and Sister Lamoreaux – Temple couple.  They leave this month and not being replaced.

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