Saturday, December 7, 2013

About Samoa


I have a confession to make:  When the application to be part of the AYLP - Samoa trip came into my email account several months ago and I decided to apply, I had no idea where Samoa was.

I knew it was an island.
A warm island.
A warm, beautiful island.
But that was it.

So naturally, I got on Google (what else?!) to search for the location - which, it turns out, is about half way between Hawaii and New Zealand. With that primary curiosity satisfied, I started researching some of the rich historical & cultural information.

Here are just a few things I've learned ... if anyone else has info to add please do so!

Geography & Population:

Map from Wikipedia
  • Samoa gained its independence from New Zealand in 1962, a little over 50 years ago, which made it the first independent island-nation in the South Pacific
  • Many people may confuse or incorrectly lump together Samoa with American Samoa. While they are neighboring island groups in the South Pacific, American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States
  • The Samoan islands are 1,133 square miles (for comparison purposes, Wyoming is just under 98,000 square miles, and Park County is about 7,000 square miles)
  • Samoa's current population is approximately 190,000 people
  • At least 2/3 or more of the population reside on the main island of Upolu. We will be staying for most of our trip with host families on the island of Upolu, and we will also visit several days to the island of Savai'i which is more rural
Weather & Climate:
As I type this blog on Saturday morning, it is 22 degrees below zero at my house in Cody - that's actual temp, not considering wind chill. In Apia, Samoa (the capital city, on the island of Upolu) right now it is 84 degrees with an expected high of 92 today.

I don't want to incite anger or violence for those of my friends & family in the Western US and Midwest who are in the midst of this deep-freeze alongside me, but that climate difference is going to be CRA-ZY! A 100-degree-plus temperature difference in a matter of a day or so could be a difficult adjustment. I'm sure I'm not getting any sympathy or pity, but I do think it's interesting to note!

Since we are there during Samoa's summer, we're in store for very warm weather - in the 90's as the high temps, and mid- to low-80's as the low temps ... and probably no wind chill. ;)

Just 4 more days until we depart - I will likely post once or twice before we leave with a few more updates, but until then ... Tofa soifua!

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