We were anticipating our visit to Samoa, in particular, because this is the region that was hit by the big tsunami and earthquake about 6 weeks ago. One of our goals was to at least make an attempt to learn about what had happened and how it impacted the people. On our last day - in American Samoa - we set out walking around a gigantic bay that nearly bisects the island. When we got near the "elbow" of the bay, we were gobsmacked to see the devastation. Everything was completely beat up. Buildings flattened, boats thrown across the road and debris everywhere.
Later, we happened to walk right by the disaster relief HQ (a school gymnasium). Based on the numbers of people that filled the gym, you would have thought that the tsunami had hit yesterday. We got hooked up with an administrator, Helen, who gave us the full scoop on what had happened and how we could help.
The tsunami hit at about 7:00 a.m. with about 7 minutes warning. They were still working through meeting with the impacted residents. They figured it would take a couple of months to simply assess all of the damage.
When we took off, we had lumps in our throats, for sure, but we also left with a renewed appreciation for the relatively easy lives we are able to lead as US citizens. Seeing first hand what's happening in the world fuels our passion for the life we are living, helps us to maintain a somewhat healthy perspective and keeps us focused on the fact that we're all connected as world citizens.