Bye Bye, Samoa

Eloy Samoana

After eleven months living in Samoa we moved out. It has been a great time for us, we enjoyed the country very much and we made many friends. I will stop writing on the blog but I will keep it online for a while and I will be happy to hearing from you people as well as answer questions about Samoa if anyone needs some tips or help.

It has been very nice writing here and hearing your comments and I would love to keep hearing from you.

All my best wishes to Samoa and its people. I hope to be back soon.

Judo in Samoa

Hello all and sorry for the delay on writing this post. This weekend was the 2010 OJU Judo World Cup. First I have to clarify that this is not the official Judo World Championship from 2010 that took place in Tokio, Japan from the 9th to the 13th of September. Then, there are 16 championships, one of them is the one organized by the Oceania Judo Union this last weekend in Samoa.

I have to say that I am a big judo fan, I practiced judo for over twelve years in my youth and I really love the sport, the philosophy and the competition.

The complex where the tournament took place was very well set. Nice temperature inside of the pavilion, good light, two tatami for simultaneous fights for the bronze medals. The very sad part was the luck of audience for the fights. It looks like judo is not a mayor sport in Samoa and is not dragging enough attention. Such a pity because there is nothing more exciting that a full pavilion cheering on the combats.

2010 OJU Judo World Cup stadium

Here we see how desolated it looked like, even though the entrance was for free. Real pity.

2010 OJU Judo World Cup stadium empty

The show itself was very good, there were some very interesting combats, but is is fair to say that the level overall was nothing close to a World Championship or Olympic Games, of course.

2010 OJU Judo World Cup fight action

I really believe that this short of events are the best way to get people engaged with new sports, and I truly believe that Samoans would do very well on Judo, there was a Fijian fighter in one of the combats for the Bronze medal. Judo is also a good sport for the kids to practice, it gives you mental and physical skills that can be applied later in your life, you don’t need to compete to enjoy this sport and it is a very cheap sport to practice. It will be a very good thing that Samoa picks up on Judo, first step was taken, lets hope it goes any deeper, into clubs and schools.

2010 OJU Judo World Cup fight decision

Samoa howls

Dogs in Savaii

I have never really touched the issue with dogs in Samoa and I feel I should talk a little bit about it. There is a serious problem with dogs in Samoa, as simple as that. This might be one of the big setbacks of this country.

There are dogs everywhere, and you never know if there are wild dogs or if they are owned by someone (I have seen very few with name tags). Most of the time they are not threatening or aggressive, but sometimes they are. I have myself have several issues with our neighbors dog when walking by to my house. I come from a family where there has been animals all the time (my father is a veterinarian), I am very used to deal with them and don’t get scared easily, the couple of times this dog tried to attack my, I just kick him out of the way and everything was fine. Samoans usually carry a couple of stones with them just in case some dog gets too aggressive, I rather take a big stick with me and when a dog gets close, hit the stick against the floor – it worked well for me until now-.

Obviously this is not a solution to the problem, I heard there has been some measurements taken in Apia – where they where killing some stray dogs at some point- and in a village north of Savaii that forbid dogs without tags. These seem to me very isolated initiatives to tackle the big issue that dogs are here. There needs to be a national law that can be enforced everywhere and this is very hard in Samoa.

Lets look at the health problems this might bring, not only to the security ones. Dogs carry illnesses, we know it because there is a whole battery of vaccinations we have to put our dogs in Europe. Just imagine a country full of dogs and very few of them has been vaccinated, this can end up on the transmission of some of these illnesses to the humans. Not to talk about parasites, I have never seen a anti-parasite collar here in Samoa, and these dogs are continuously exposed to the wild, so they usually get parasites that they transmit to the humans.

I really think there should be some strong measures from the government in order to keep a little bit of order on the dogs growth. First tag all the owned dogs and give a deadline to do so. Then have a vaccination program for those dogs, and last but not least, take the remaining stray dogs, and keep them in a shelter for a while and then if nobody wants the dogs, kill them, it sounds awful but it the only way.

On the positive side, I have not heard about very big issues with dogs outside of Apia, so if you are planning to come to Samoa, don’t worry too much about this, just be aware that this is an issue and you might need to get a good stone or a good stick if you go to certain areas specially in the early morning or in the night.