The video above shows the villagers of Manono welcoming international development workers (and one lucky Kiva Fellow) to their island.

I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 3 months here in the beautiful South Pacific volunteering as a Kiva Fellow. Living and working with Samoans, I have learned that although the islands lack robust economic opportunities, they are rich in culture and natural beauty.

Despite Samoa being listed by the UNDP list as one of the 49 least developed countries in the world, Samoans generally do not suffer from the hunger or homelessness that accompany poverty.

Living on lush tropical islands, Samoans rarely lack access to food or shelter. In my backyard alone, there are bananas, breadfruit and papaya. It is also exceptionally rare for someone to be homeless in Samoa, as it is still the norm to live with your parents, grandparents and extended family. The sense of family is so strong, that although I have only been here a short time, my Samoan mother and sister check up on me as if I were a member of their family.

While the majority of the population is able to survive at the poverty line, I have seen that the people of Samoa want to do more than just subsist.  Access to capital, such as a Kiva loan, is critical to jump starting entrepreneurship and providing jobs. With continued support from Kiva and people like you, I am optimistic that economic opportunities will flourish.

If you ever have the chance to visit the South Pacific, I would highly recommend it.

Fasaifua and so long from Samoa!

Click here to sponsor a loan and help a Samoan entrepreneur!

Nate Walsh is a Kiva Fellow in Apia, Samoa. He is volunteering with the South Pacific Business Development Foundation (SPBD)

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