The Sweetest Sweetcorn

For those who don’t know, I am in Samoa with my creative-gifted husband, working on raising the tourism dollar post-tsunami. Another entry to my weekly update for folks back in New Zealand, this week, involved much about giftedness – repeated here for your consumption…

Gifted ideas in Samoa tourism

The sweetcorn patch

Harvested the sweetcorn and had our first meal – what a sweet treat that was! A few meals from the beans, but the tomatoes are s-l-o-w ripening!! One nearly turning red, out of about 450 last count!!

Three months of using the long drop – not a milestone I am particularly pleased about – and I may have a flush loo in a day or two!! Dennis and I built the framework and steel for the concrete roof, and will pour the concrete later today as it cools down! Then the inspection hole covers and it will be ready!! Learnt a lot about pioneer life starting from scratch up here in Samoa, starting with just a bush-covered piece of land. It’s hard work, but it makes everything you achieve, however small, so much more worthwhile.

It’s a conundrum though. One minute I am out developing the land – the next, entertaining the Prime Minister as he checks out his proposed website in my ‘huge mossie tent come office’. Later, I am ‘speaking’ with gifted professionals around the globe, and then I rush off to cook over a single gas-cooker in my camp kitchen, from a very limited range of foods! Talk about a “Tale of Two … Lifestyles”.

Internet marketing in Samoa bush

Internet marketing in Samoa bush

But, that is what Samoa is like. The rich and the poor live side by side. There is no real “Million Dollar Mile” like I remember from Milford/Takapuna. But there are extremes in accommodation, set beside each other in the same village. One house might be palatial, behind a 2m fence and gate, and the neighbour’s could be made from cut-down local trees, thatched roof, no walls, and no privacy from the passing road traffic. The one thing they probably have in common though, is a couple (at least) of dogs!

It is 3 days short of 6 months since I relocated to Samoa. The best thing for me so far, has been the bonding with my husband as we embark on this journey together. It is not an easy task, to be called into a country to work with people who need help, but for whatever reason, find it hard to accept it. The world is changing, and while it is nice for cultures to stay tucked up in their own little world, if they want to earn the tourist’s dollars, they have to learn to engage with them, where they are at. In tough economic times, if businesses are not engaging on the internet – they are going to miss out big time!

I have learnt a good deal about gifted people, their struggles to get their ideas valued, and the loss to society if they are not given space to develop. What are we educating gifted students for, if not to make their lives more meaningful, and give them access to answering the world’s problems in their unique ways? Education of the gifted for me, does not stop when they graduate, but is a lifetime mission.

With my creative-gifted husband, I am helping others to understand him and accept him for who he is, and helping him to understand his impact on others, as we work to achieve the goals of our SWAP Foundation in Samoa. We want to put Samoa on the ‘Internet’ to lift the tourism spend here, by investing what we know about internet marketing and fresh, new business ideas. I see the ups and downs as the frustration of being misunderstood grips him. When your mind is running faster than the others around you, and you can see the vision clearly, there is an unrealism that seems to take place, while waiting for others to catch up, understand, or get with the programme. But, he has enormous patience and stickability – failure is not an option he accepts freely.

Gifted advocates who live with giftedness on a daily basis are essential for smoothing the waters around gifted individuals, helping to make them understandable to the public. It’s a tough job, but one I accept as my mission.

Fa’a Soifua, for another week. May yours be filled with the joy and gratefulness of learning something new every day.

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About Debbie Smith

New Zealand Educator interested in online education, giftedness, and other special needs in education.
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