Tuesday, June 3, 2008



We have all experienced leaving someone or someplace behind well hold dear. It is part of life. Maybe it is the idea of déjà vu, which softens the pangs of separation. For Samoans leaving is part of their life, but it always with the thought eventually of returning. It is almost unthinkable for Samoans to imagine that a person is leaving never again to return to Samoa. It is the center of the world.

The other part of leaving is disengaging from the Peace Corps. Here you have bureaucracy in action. It is not that the Peace Corps is heartless, but with forms to complete, interviews which have to be conducted, travel arrangements, and items to be returned, the saying “Good Bye” tends to be institutionalized. You leave on the midnight plane without fanfare and without the expectation of you ever returning.

Of course, disengaging from here has a little part of both Fa’asamoa and Peace Corps. We desire to have people want and expect us to return on the one hand; on the other hand, bureaucratic procedures make it easier to say, “Tofa Soifua”.

No comments: