Sunday, October 04, 2009

Ua tagi le fatu ma le eleele, the heart and the earth weep

It has been four days since the devastating tsunami and our country continue to grieve and try to find some normalcy and order in such tragedy.
Not an hour passes that I don't think about those who have died so unexpectedly.
And those left to pick up the pieces.
Last night, we are told that there may be a mass burial near Apia.
This is something that to Samoans everywhere is difficult to fathom.
Death is a process of grieving and services and eulogies and gifting and lamenting and a burial on your own fanua.
Fanua, your Land, your Earth. your Soil. your Home.

From when you are born, they bury your mother's fanua (placenta) on your land for the same reason.
You will thrive here and when your time comes, you will return to the soil here too.
This is were you belong.
With a heavy heart, I am reminded of the proverb, Ua tagi le fatu ma le eleele.
Never before have I realised the depth of these words until now, that the earth and the hearts of many weep unconsoled.

How can you let your loved one be buried so far away from home?
In a mass site that is so far away from your fanua?
Wouldn't a site near the south be more appropriate?
And more accessible for the Atu Falealili, Lotofaga, Lepa, Aleipata?
I accept the reasoning by Government regarding the logistical and health issues, still, I find it so so hard to accept the idea of a mass burial.
The last mass burial was immediately after the Influenza epidemic, my grandmother told us the stories, so eerie and unimaginable, of bodies heaved onto government trucks destined for mass burial sites.
Such a distant fagogo, so utterly unreal.
I never thought that one day, in my lifetime, would I witness just that.
Endless pick up trucks passing me by, lifeless passengers lying side by side, taken away from their fanua. their Land. their Home.

Aue, ua tagi le fatu ma le eleele.

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