Wise Company graphic artist, Dave Thomas, shows off the wide diversity of Wise products at their Salt Lake City Headquarters. [Photo: Barry Markowitz]

We islanders are the most resilient Peoples in the World. Approximately every four years we get hit by a major natural environmental disaster, but we go on. It’s expected, it’s part of the give and take of our bountiful Pacific Ocean, of our blue skies, of our islands' birth in volcanic origins. And, Wise Company is a great bridge to get us back on track, faster and better, and much, much more... Wise doesn't even realize how much more.
In 1991 I gazed over an ominous sky creeping towards Apia Harbor. In my gut I knew it was pure evil. It was pre-email days, so I went to my wife's Uncle MacDonald's stationery store nook behind Chan Mow's (formerly Burn's Philp) to send a fax to my mother telling her she may not hear from me for a while, that something bad was coming. Heck, it was just a year before that I was stranded in Auckland, after the 1990 Commonwealth Games due to Cyclone Ofa... nobody in Apia thought it would happen again, so soon. Being a paranoid Palagi, I stopped at my buddy Alfred's store and spent $35 tala on some canned food, boxes of Anchor milk and some Koko Samoa, getting scolded on arrival from the always right, Mrs. Cool Stuff, that all I wanted to do was waste money and that Samoa only has major cyclones every hundred years.
It was a hundred years minus 99 as Cyclone Val snuck into Samoa with a devious roar. My prized mango tree went down, the poor fruit bats were disoriented and sadly getting shotgunned while scrounging Apia residential neighborhoods for crumbs, and as usual you couldn't trust the water. Minor sole benefit was plentee of free roofing tins from houses 3 miles away abounded.
Where were you when I needed you Wise? Wise Company will help us get through the next big one. Little does Wise know they get me through the regular small ones, too.
Wise strength is that their product preparation is basic, but the product is absolutely gourmet sophistication. So simple, even a journalist could do it... by adding two cups of hot water, stir, letting it sit for 14 minutes, and devour. So while Wise promotes its products as disaster prep food, it has solved so many more of my dramas in bringing you my images from around the planet.
Wise granola pouch took care of my 7a.m. LAX Airport breakfast enroute to cover the Nov 7, 2013 Oregon vs Stanford game where our soon to be Samoan Heisman, Marcus Mariota played his heart out on one knee. Heading home after covering USC and Fresno St. Samoans excelling at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, the plane's electrical system failure kept us grounded two hours on the tarmac, where the existing tank of hot water for tea and coffee enriched my Wise favorite, Cheesy Lasagna.
In Sha Tin, New Territories, Hong Kong (north adjacent to the China Mainland border), it’s hard to get blue collar food at 10p.m. after covering our beloved Manu Samoa 7’s team. Yet all the images you saw every night were based on my tummy running on Wise Chicken Teriyaki or Pasta Alfredo with Chicken.
They are extremely smart guys at Wise, but they don't promote that Wise is the ultimate travel food; it’s the ultimate “quiet kids Mom’s not home yet split a Wise Chili Mac with Beef pouch food”; it’s the ultimate night before the big game food for your Veterans Memorial Stadium stars; it’s the ultimate “grandma has a lot of pride wants to cook her own food but you don't trust her these days with a knife food”, it’s the ultimate "I am stuck at the Mulifanua Wharf because kapuni le ala va'a, Terry Toesulusulu at the Wharf Shop has gone home and what do I do for food”; it’s the ultimate “I want to bring a gift that is not Chocolate Covered Macadamia Nuts from my tafao in Hawaii food”; it’s the ultimate “food here in Vanuatu doesn't make my stomach happy so I am going to fix my pure and virtuous Wise pouch food”; it’s the ultimate “paycheck comes Tuesday because its delayed by Presidents Day Weekend and the Post Office is closed and I am starving now food”.
Yes my dear Coolios, Wise Company products are far more than even they realize because they don't face what we face, they need us as much as their high integrity spokesperson, Marie Osmond, to tell their story, because we live the Wise story daily.
You can buy Wise pouches in any quantity from Wise Company direct at http://wisefoodstorage.com/?gclid=COaZzsLG0bwCFc5hfgodABoAOw. Wise can be purchased in 36 hour boxes and individual pouches from Kalihi, Honolulu Coolio, Dave Tejada at his Mojo Tactical Store, 1625 Kahai St., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96819 (808 783-4483).
Average price is around $7 per pouch, cheaper in quantities. Dave is The Man... he has lots of other gear that will allow you to cruise past your next afa.
Wise pouches last around 12 years minus 2 years in the South Pacific due to our heat and humidity. They are better than hand me down military MRE's because they are far lighter... you don't need MRE chewing gum and Tabasco sauce. The design of MRE's is for active military activity, which works against civilians who may be hunkered down at home or in a shelter waiting out a cyclone or tsunami road repair. Yes, regular MRE's will get you uncomfortably constipated.
When evacuating you can stuff 20 Wise pouches into your 6-year-old's backpack and the little one won't complain one bit on the weight. Wise pouches fit in your cargo pants pockets, your wife's purse, under your hat, around your water bottle, in the glove box of your car, inside your closed umbrella, camera bag, and in your iPad case.
Looking into the Coolio Crystal Ball of what should and has happened with Wise and Samoa:
a)            I already took a 36-hour box of Wise pouches to American Samoa Government Honolulu Liaison, Afimutasi Gus Hannemann, who I knew would absolutely love everything about Wise pouches for Samoa disaster preparedness. He did. He would actually like Wise to consider a two-way street for American Samoa; to supply their existing products and to also take Samoan favorites talo, breadfruit, ufi, palosami, Koko Samoa, Koko Alaisa, corned beef and cabbage, tuna and rice, etc, and package them for sale to the World.
The obvious by-product is to comply with the Governor's mission to increase exports, jobs, and and economic opportunity for all of the Territory, but particularly for the more remote Manua chain.
The interesting perspective is that traditional Samoan foods are generally healthier than Western oriented foods and would find their way to health food stores as well as Pacific Islanders around the World... including active military. Wise pouches labeled with "Product of American Samoa" would also highlight tourism, and that American Samoa is a place of business opportunity.
b)            Cost U Less should jump on Wise pouches, buying container loads so you have the convenience of avoiding your own shipping dramas or begging Hawai’i or Utah relatives to assist you. Cost U Less could also supply ASG with product on a wholesale basis, so the government can buy when budgetable in smaller quantities. Every school in the Territory should have a two-day supply of Wise pouches for either a weather drama or whatever obstacle might affect the daily school lunch program... like a power outage. Every Samoan knows how to boil water from nothing... so hot water is never an issue.
c)            Airlines could stock Wise pouches to eliminate their trans-Pacific catering concerns and lower costs on potentially wasted food. You only need to use Wise pouches when you need them, so they store for a long time… with remember, a 12 year shelf life.
d)            Fishermen, sailors, hikers at American Samoa's National Park, workers in the field...everybody in the Territory needs Wise pouches as convenience food. Hot water in a Hydroflask insulated water bottle and you are in business. Lost at sea, or stuck in a storm on a mountain, Wise pouches will save the day, and probably your life.
e)            Hotel guests not used to Samoa's church devotion on Sunday may be handled quite easily with a granola or oatmeal pouch, then a luncheon pouch of Noodles & Beef in Savory Mushroom Sauce til to'onai.
f)            Wise Company needs to sponsor the ASG public service pages on disaster preparedness in the Samoa News. I have been impressed with what has been prominently published lately. The financial burden of promoting to the public should be subsidized by private sector companies that can help make the Territory's People safer while earning a well deserved tala or two.
Wise pouches will be with me at the Tokyo Sevens, Talavalu's historic debut at the Hong Kong Sevens, and Tutuila's Marist Sevens if somebody could please give the Samoa News a confirmed date, fa'amolemole.
Samoans have lived for thousands of years without Wise pouches…,but why not let Wise make our lives easier so that we can focus on more important family concerns.
Thank you Wise for your products, thank you Afimutasi for potentially making something dynamic happen in the Territory with Wise and its farmers. And, if Wise wisely brings Marie Osmond to the Territory as part of their future South Pacific marketing campaign, we all know she will be treated like a queen.
Wise pouches: unanimously voted a Cool Stuff Instant Hall of Fame Classic.

American Samoa Government Honolulu Liaison, Afimutasi Gus Hannemann and his wife Lydia enjoy their first taste of Wise Teriyaki Chicken & Rice at their Hawai’i Kai home. [Photo: Barry Markowitz]


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