Unemployment? No Unemployment in Paradise!

22 07 2012

I believe it was in 1995 when I had the great fortune to go to Pango Pango (pronounced Pahngo Pahngo), the capital of American Samoa. What a fantastic place! The beauty of American Samoa is surpassed only by the kindness and generosity of her people. I was only there for a week, but what a week it was.

Instead of staying in a hotel, the client, StarKist Tuna, was able to save some expense money by putting me up in the home of one of their employees who was vacationing in the States. They had planned to save even more money by having the safety director at the plant pick me up and drive me to wherever I needed to go. I arrived on the island late Friday night and he picked me up at the airport. He then came by on Saturday morning to take me to the plant for a tour. He returned on Sunday so I could attend church with him and his wife; and then again on Monday morning to take me to the plant so I could teach my class. It was about a six-mile trip, one way, from his house which was on a mountainside overlooking the tuna cannery. Now six miles doesn’t sound very far until you consider the speed limit was 15 miles per hour. That makes 6 miles a long trip. By Tuesday he was ready for a change so he rented a car for me for the remainder of the week.

It takes a little getting used to, but I quickly adjusted to the glacial-speed driving between my temporary housing and town. It was rather pleasant riding along viewing the scenery.

One day I had completed my work for the day and was driving back to the house. I was still in town, creeping along at a turtle’s pace when I noticed people walking down the middle of the road. It was a road crew, each man wearing bright orange coveralls. The crew was installing reflectors along the center line of the road.

The first man at the head of this single file line carried a mortar board piled high with some type of adhesive. Using a trowel he would pick up a dollop of the adhesive, bend over and plop it on the centerline of the street.

The second man in line carried a bag slung over his shoulder which contained the reflectors. He would take one from the bag and stick it in the adhesive.

The third man had the easy job. He would bend over and align the reflector properly while pressing it into the adhesive.

The last guy in line was pulling a little red wagon loaded with bright orange, 6- inch high traffic cones. He would place a cone over each newly installed reflector.

The crew moved along the street at about the same pace as the traffic. And that’s how they install road reflectors in American Samoa.

I hope you enjoy the pictures I took during my stay. What a shame we didn’t have digital photography then.

Welcome to American Samoa

This is a falle. Once a Samoan house. When the weather is as nice as it is in Pango Pango, who needs walls?

My favorite picture. This was what I saw every morning driving to work.

Overlooking the harbor and the City of Pago Pago


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2 responses

22 07 2012
Cecilia

I remember you going and, as a matter of fact, I still have my souvenir on my refrigerator…..a beautiful fish! Seems forever ago that I worked for you, but I always loved hearing your stories.

22 07 2012
Bill Taylor

That does seem like a long time ago. I’m glad to know you still have the fish. Miss those days!

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