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Travels with the War Goddess

Embedded journalism in a Samoan drug-discovery expedition

Dec. 20, 2003 Huh? I stare at the e-mail on how not to offend Samoans who live in traditional villages. It would be polite to wear a lavalava all the time, whether going to church or going swimming? I'm planning to tag along with a botany expedition to a Samoan island and am reading up on the place. But what in the world could a lavalava be? Do the Samoans, whom I've just learned are strongly religious, somehow wear bathing suits to church? Although I obviously know little about Samoa, I have received an invitation that one doesn't get every day: to travel there with Nafanua, a legendary Samoan war goddess.

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