One of the harder challenges since leaving Samoa has been that of keeping up with the local news. It's easy enough to pick up the phone and call friends but one only learns so much. The focus of those calls is, understandably, much more personal.
Imagine my delight then at discovering that the Samoa Observer has recently decided to resume online publication. As a source of news about Samoa it far outstrips the efforts of ABC's Pacific Beat and Radio New Zealand International. Those sites have - necessarily - a broader focus on the entire Pacific and with the troubles in countries like Fiji and the Solomon Islands, reports from Samoa tend to be a little thin on the ground.
Not all of the Observer is online but enough of it is to make me very happy. Best of all, their Street Talk section is updated daily. Street Talk is the Observer's vox populi page and whilst in Samoa it was arguably my favourite part of the paper (for a whole lot of reasons).
Looking over the last month's headlines it's easy to spot some recurring stories. The issue of doctors' pay has flared up again, more than a year after I was first aware of it. More village banishments have occurred, one in particular catching my eye. A family has been banished from their village of Gagaifolevao, Lefaga after it was discovered that a tourist currently facing charges of sex offences had stayed with them. On a happier note, Manu Samoa won its first Rugby 7s tournament, claiming top spot in the Wellington round.