This is the country where I’ve left my heart.
Many of you know that I lived in Samoa for 4 years when I was child and that those years had a huge impact on my life and contributed to my desire to be a doctor today. When my family moved back to America when I was 8, it took me a little while to adjust to, what to me, was a new culture. I never forgot my time in Samoa, however, or my friends, the people I met, the things I saw, or the way of life inherent to the islands.
Samoa is a beautiful, South Pacific island nation that is completely sovereign and has about 180,000 people living on two main islands and a handful of smaller ones. Samoa is the largest true Polynesian culture left in the world; Fa’a Samoa, or Samoa Way, is still alive and well in a culture that emphasizes village hierarchies, strong community and ancient traditions, of which dance, family, food and religion are a large part.
In recent years, Samoa has been struck by a devastating tsunami in 2009, which ravaged the Southern coastline and killed hundreds, and vicious cycle in 2012, which hit the capitol and did huge damage, of which the Western World is largely unaware.