Editor's note: The following piece was written by San Jose Silicon Valley De-Bug writer Jean Melesaine.

My mom told me a couple of months ago in her beautiful broken English that ”(she thought) it was time to “go home” Home is where the heart is, or so I’m told. And if that’s true, Mother Nature just blew out her last heartbeat and CBS, with a crew of 20 or so Americans, competing in a reality game show called “Survivor” is/was there. Survivor is in Samoa. I watched the premiere and I bet you so did every other Samoan in the country that has access to CBS. It is about the only time you can see the island on prime time television unless you watched the show “Bizarre Foods” or the Rock does some kind of special on football.


Recently, besides a television show, Samoa’s has also been hit by a “natural” disaster. It has been a week filled with funerals. Funerals on an island where CBS runs current commercials about this game show of Americans menacing over a million dollars. No acknowledgment of a disaster, not an empathetic message to the people.

The first I heard about the show, I was in a “get off of my island” mode. After watching the first episode I can admit it was pretty entertaining watching 20 middle age somewhat successful Americans tactfully fighting over money so I really didn’t care. Until the tsunami hit.

After all the hyped commercials using the islands culture as advertisement, where is CBS to help the people now? Why aren’t there any attempts to recognize that there was a disaster on this island? Why do we get used of our culture only for others to profit and leave us with nothing?

I wonder what its like for another country to set up shop on your homeland. Actually, never mind. The Turtle Island natives could be saying the same thing about me. What can I do? I can write an apology. I can write an apology of things that are/were out of my control, maybe sell it as a book and make a million dollars or something American like that. Big American Dreams, make a million dollars like a “Survivor.” Maybe that would be just as bad as of a reality game show but different. Who knows?

The head of tourism signed a contract for them to be there and if that’s his better judgment on what he thinks is best for the island, than I hope it does good for the people. Contrary to that, I’m skeptical of the job that he’s doing. It is not as bad as having a U.S military base on the island taking over like Hawaii or Guam.

I come from a matriarchal family, like a lot of other island folks as well. My ancestors, my grandmothers and alot of my aunts would be considered medicine women or shamans. A while back an American came to my family’s land in Samoa and tried to bargain it from them. He stayed for a week trying to convince them. Within that week he became sick, very sick. He left my family alone. Karma. It’s one of those things you just have to be intuitive on. My mother says people know when they do wrong and that’s all that really matters. If they’re conscious about it, it’s on them. Samoa is a sacred land. My older brother, along with alot of my family, are buried in front of the house. There are many legends and tribal stories in my family’s history that emphasize spirits roaming the island.

To me, it doesn’t matter how I feel when people disrespect my people or my island. I can write a story, try to change policy, say something bad about an American here and there. But as far as morality and spirituality goes its no longer in my hands because CBS still needs an American to win that million dollars, because a million other Americans are waiting to see who it is. Even if they have to wait a couple weeks of their great American lives watching an island that is now in ruins.