SAMOA – SAMOA

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Katolicka katedrala bezgresnog zaceca device Marije-Roman Catholic cathedral Immaculate Conception of Mary

Katolicka katedrala bezgresnog zaceca device Marije-Roman Catholic cathedral Immaculate Conception of Mary

Natpis koji odgovara mestu-The very right title

Natpis koji odgovara mestu-The very right title

Nedeljna misa-A Sunday mass

Nedeljna misa-A Sunday mass

Plava zvezda-A blue starfish

Plava zvezda-A blue starfish

Pristaniste na ostrvu Savai'i-A dock on Sava'i island

Pristaniste na ostrvu Savai’i-A dock on Sava’i island

Rezervat za morske kornjace-Sea turtles reservation

Rezervat za morske kornjace-Sea turtles reservation

Riblja pijaca - The fish market

Riblja pijaca – The fish market

Riblja pijaca-The fish market

Riblja pijaca-The fish market

Stari autobus izmedju dve crkve u suton-An old bus between two churches at the sunset

Stari autobus izmedju dve crkve u suton-An old bus between two churches at the sunset

Tragovi davne erupcije vulkana-The remains of eruption long ago

Tragovi davne erupcije vulkana-The remains of eruption long ago

Tri palme na otoku srece-Three palm trees on the island of happiness

Tri palme na otoku srece-Three palm trees on the island of happiness

U Stivensovovoj kuci-Inside Stivenson's house

U Stivensovovoj kuci-Inside Stivenson’s house

Umetnost u oblacima-Arts and clouds

Umetnost u oblacima-Arts and clouds

Aggie and Marina Grey

Aggie and Marina Grey

Apia u suton-Sunset over Apia

Apia u suton-Sunset over Apia

Bahai crkva-Baha'i church

Bahai crkva-Baha’i church

Crkva na mestu gde se iskrcao prvi misionar-The church where the first missionary disembarked

Crkva na mestu gde se iskrcao prvi misionar-The church where the first missionary disembarked

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Igra oblaka i boja-A game of clouds and colours

Imanje Vailima na kome je ziveo Robert Luis Stivenson-Vailima Estate where R. L. Stevenson lived

Imanje Vailima na kome je ziveo Robert Luis Stivenson-Vailima Estate where R. L. Stevenson lived

Agnes (Aggie) Geneviève Swann je bila ćerka engleskog apotekara, koji je došao na Samou krajem XIX veka, i lokalne devojke iz sela Toamua. Sa prvim mužem Gordonom, koji je radio za parobrodsku kompaniju, imala je četvoro dece, a posle njegove smrti osam godina kasnije, udala se za se Čarlija Greja, koji je bio nepopravljivi kockar i, kao takav, izgubio sve što su imali. Godine 1942. američki vojnici došli su u Apiju, glavni grad Samoe i ona je u tome videla priliku da napravi posao i prehrani decu. Od pozajmljenih para otvorila je lokal, koji je vremenom postao stecište svih važnijih događaja u regionu. Bila je toliko upečatljiva ličnost da je po njoj pisac James Michener  izgradio svoj lik Bloody Mary u Pričama sa južnog Pacifika. Na tom mestu je kasnije nastao hotel sa njenim imenom, čiji je danas vlasnik njena snaha Marina, koja je srećna kad kaže da je dobro u tom liku samo ono što je inspirisano životom njene svekrve. U hotelskom holu punom egzotičnog cveća slikam se sa Marinom pored fotografije Aggie Grey, sa cvetom hibiskusa iza uha, kao i pored velike fotografije na kojoj ona prati iz hotela englesku kraljicu Elizabetu. Pre više od trideset godina kraljica je došla na Samou da bi tu proslavila svoju srebrnu svadbu. Aggie maše kraljici ispred hotela, dok ona i princ Filip odlaze u velikom kabrioletu.
Samoa je jedna od najlepših i najsrećnijih zemalja u Tihom okeanu, gde je sve jednostavno i lišeno svake agresije, kako je Margaret Mid opisivala te ljude dvadesetih godina prošlog veka, vršeći antropološka istraživanja. Doduše, erotika i slobodna ljubav iz tog vremena, zastupljeni na starim fotografijama prvih kolonizatora Nemaca, mnogo su se promenili pod pritiskom brojnih misionara koji su gradili svoje crkve na svakom koraku Samoe. Zbog toga je u toj zemlji društvo danas mnogo konzervativnije nego što se može zamisliti, a mise u crkvama nedeljom pre podne najvažniji su društveni događaj. Svečano obučene u belo i sa velikim šeširima, žene pevaju u horu, a lokalne melodije, često praćene igrom, dopiru iz svih crkvenih prozora duž šetališta pored mora. Deca veselo poziraju na prozorima.
Društveni život ove zemlje bogat je samo njihovim međusobnim druženjem i komunikacijom, jer drugih sadržaja nema. Svoje bogatstvo oni daju crkvama kojih, samo na ostrvu Upolu, ima oko tri stotine, što znači jedna crkva na približno pedeset stanovnika! Uz vožnju pored obale u zalazak sunca, zadovoljstvo je gledati ih kako se druže ispred svojih kućica u cveću, šetaju, igraju društvene igre, kupaju se u toplom moru u kome nestaju poslednji sunčevi zraci.
Ako se bilo šta na svetu može nazvati „Ostrvo s blagom“, to je onda Samoa, a blago su ljudi i njihovi međusobni odnosi, jednostavnost življenja i neverovatne prirodne lepote. Škotski pisac Robert Luis Stivenson to je dobro znao kad je odlučio da ovde provede poslednje godine svog života, u velikoj drvenoj kući iznad Apije, koja se naziva Vailima i koja je danas njegov muzej. Bio je omiljen među lokalnim stanovništvom, za čija se prava borio kod kolonijalnih vlasti tog vremena, a koje su zbog toga tražile da on bude prognan iz zemlje. Dobro i zlo u nama.
Doktor Džekil i mister Hajd takođe je  njegovo poznato delo.

Avgust 2010.
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Agnes (Aggie) Geneviève Swann was the daughter of an English pharmacist who arrived in Samoa at the end of the 19th century and a local girl from the village of Toamua. With her first husband, Gordon, who worked for a steamboat company, she had four children, and after his death  8 years later, she married Charlie Grey, who was a notorious gambler and as such lost everything they had.  In 1942 American soldiers arrived in Apia, the capital of Samoa, and she saw here the opportunity to make money so that she could raise her children.  From borrowed money she opened a bar, which in time became a hot spot where all major events in the region happened.  She was such a charismatic person that writer James Michener modelled his character of  Bloody Mary, in the Tales of the South Seas, after her. On the spot where the bar used to be, there is now a hotel bearing her name, and its owner is Aggie’s daughter in law, Marina. She happily notes that the only good traits in the character of Bloody Mary were inspired by the personality and life of her mother in law. I am having a photo taken with Marina in the hotel lobby full of exotic flowers and next to a photo of Aggie Grey, with a hibiscus flower behind her ear; also next to a large photo in which she is seeing off  Queen Elizabeth from the hotel. More than 30 years ago the Queen visited Samoa to celebrate her silver marriage anniversary. Aggie is standing in front of the hotel waving to the Queen, while she is leaving with Prince Philip in a large convertible.
Samoa is one of the prettiest and happiest countries in the Pacific Ocean, where everything is simple and devoid of any aggression – this is how Maragret Mead described the people of Samoa during the years of her anthropological research in the 1920s. However the spontaneous eroticism and free love from that period, as shown on the photographs of the first colonisers – the Germans, have been suppressed by numerous missionaries who built churches at every corner in Samoa. That is the reason why this society is much more conservative than you could imagine and going to Mass on a Sunday morning is the most important social event.  Dressed in white for the occasion and wearing big hats, women sing in choirs, and local tunes often accompanied by dance, come from all church windows along the promenade. Children look happy and pose in church windows.
This country’s social life is rich only through its people’s communication and friendship, as there is nothing else going on. They give their wealth to churches of which there are around 300 on the Upolu island alone, meaning there is a church for every 50 inhabitants! Driving along the sea shore at sunset, it is a pleasure to watch them gathering in front of their little houses set in flowers, walking, playing games, swimming in the warm sea which is absorbing the last rays of sunshine.
If anything in the world could be called Treasure Island that would be Samoa; people themselves and their relationships are this treasure, the simplicity of living and incredible natural beauties. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson knew this all too well when he decided to spend the last years of his life here, in a large wooden house above Apia, called Vailima. This house is today his museum. He was adored by the locals as he fought for their rights against the colonial powers at the time, who wanted to exile him because of that. The good and the bad within us.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is also a famous novel of his.

August 2010

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