Geoffrey (guard), Jenny Sinclair and Jane (house staff) at home in Samoa.
Geoffrey (guard), Jenny Sinclair and Jane (house staff) at home in Samoa. Photo supplied

Jenny's decade of island life

FORMER Kepnock woman Jenny Sinclair has told of the resilience of the Samoan people following a tsunami that destroyed sections of the island in September last year.

The NewsMail first spoke to Mrs Sinclair after the tsunami hit Samoa, and caught up with her this week while she was visiting Australia for Christmas.

She stayed at her mother’s home in Innes Park during the festive season and intends to travel back to the island nation today.

Although the capital Apia, where Mrs Sinclair lives, was not affected, she said she saw the devastation in other parts of the island.

But since the natural disaster that claimed hundreds of lives, the country and its people were starting to recover and rebuild.

“Samoans believe people who have died hang around for a while; they believe in reincarnation,” Mrs Sinclair said.

This meant in the weeks that followed the disaster the island’s streets were quiet after dark, as popular superstition dictated that was when spirits roamed the streets.

As time passed people began to venture out at night again.

Work has also begun building hotels along the ocean front, to be finished in time for the tourist season starting in April.

“It’s now about getting confidence back in Samoa as a tourist destination,” Mrs Sinclair said.

The accountant, who works for the Samoan government, said she would have trouble returning to the island she calls home after spending some time with her mother at Innes Park.

After having spent more than a decade working in Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Solomon Islands and Samoa, Mrs Sinclair has certainly seen her fair share of trouble.

She said her most frightening experience was the 1999 Millennium bank robbery in Port Moresby, during which she was in the top floor of the building as the robbers went to work on the bottom floor.

“I thought, ‘Oh my god, we’re dead’,” Mrs Sinclair said. “They were in army fatigues and we thought they’d flown in to prevent the robbery.”



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