Wednesday, September 30, 2009

E moe ma manu ae sau mala e atia'e



The last time I blogged, I was sitting at Motootua waiting for the sirens to stop so i could go back to Relle's place.
But the sirens never stopped - Cherelle, Paul and I went to kua.
I bragged about Poutasi and its picturesque beauty last week, but what we found was a village destroyed, homes thrown to the forest behind the village and most tragically, our family friend and the gorgeous Tui has passed on.
I don't know how what to say here, this is so tragic, sad, unfair, wrong.
Only last week, we were wishing we were living on that same beachfront, and hanging out with the aumaga.

As we walked through, I found pictures, framed photos, bibles strewn on the ground.
I gathered whatever photos I could get, including one of Tui as a young woman.
This is hard to 'accept'.
I don't want to believe but everyone we talked to were here when it happened.

We left the Poutasi area just as Lale and his medics team arrived, just standing around because those who managed to escape were fine, those who didn't have died.

One family have lost three young children, a granma is missing and as I look at the hollow remains of Joe and Tui's house, I felt physically hurt for them, their loved ones.
This is too much to bear.
Tuataga and Tui have been the strength of this village and neighbouring itumalo.
Her passing is felt by everyone we met on the road.
Pua, Joe's trusted family member was directing the boys to gather what is left strewn around because the looters were abound. Whatever, i thought, who was stupid enough to steal from their own kinspeople?

But as we were walking through, something else occured to me, the men walking alongside us were 'scavenging', walking into broken homes, ...TAKING things.
Heartless pigs, I hated them for their stupidity and inconsideration.

But what could we do?

This is not a daily occurence.
This is tragic, unexpectedly.

I walked among the exposed foundations of homes, towards the back of the village, where the debris was piled, I find a wheelchair. This belongs to the old lady. I found more pictures, shattered glass, people smiling, happy, cheerful even. Three children in matching red aloha shirts.
What a far cry from now.
I watch fish from the ocean lying about the plantation, some still swimming in the puddles. A dead eel, uprooted coral stuck among pandanus trees.
A carcass of a cow.
Another bible. A work boot. Trophy. Shoe. Roof of a fale kele.
The church pews, tables, rocks, all chucked towards the pulpit.
Where is God in all this?

I took photos, from the same position as last week, except, there are no smiling faces, no lush gardens and colourful boats moored by the stream.
This is hollow remains, a ghost village stripped of its ...life.

We left as people as families gathers near uprooted trees, some still searching for loved ones.

The hotel rooms of Salani Surf resort, further down the road were chucked across the river. Seabreeze Resort is gone. Lauofo Meti's houses are gone. Family homes are gone.

Lepa is flat.
We see a car wheel upturned in the ocean.
Is it empty? Is someone in there?
Most Police arrive.

Another pick up passes, two bodies wrapped in fala lilii.
Manuia lau malaga le lagi.

As we crawl towards Lalomanu - the beach fales don't exist here no more.
Tourists walk about stunned, some searching for missing friends, some embracing.
The families of Lalomanu are still digging through the rubble, but for most, they just stood there, watching. Stunned? Shocked.
Where is sanity in all this?

Further uphill, the meeting point is crowded with people.
The tourists are registered. The locals are serving food, their grief is forgotten as they serve food and drinks to the displaced. The children are crying. The dead are lined up and heaved onto pick ups. This is not normal.
This is not normal, but I forget this because I have seen so much death.
A woman cries for her 3 year old and this pain me so much.
Nothing can comfort her.
I wish I could take some of her pain. But that won't bring her baby back.
Her cries will stay with me.

This is beyond anything Ive ever seen, the two cyclones seem like a breeze,. this is devastating.

As more and more cars pass by with bodies, my heart breaks for them, for those left behind, for their mothers, brothers, fathers and children.

Imagine waking up one morning, to find everyone dead and you have Nothing left.
This is reality for so many in the South of Upolu.
May they find some reprieve in this life.

There are many ways to help: Red Cross (rescue and immediate assistance), SUNGO (for civil societies, ngos mobilised to help the surviving villagers in rebuilding), TVNZ have links to bank details, theres a Telethon happening in Apia on radio at the moment, or whoever is travelling to Samoa soon, please take what you can - clothes, bed linen(not necesarily blankets), towels, canned food, books, pens, school bags, shoes, panadol,...any useful medicine, toys for the children, anything you have will be appreciated.

alofa atu and please spare a thought for those less fortunate,

Fotu

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

OMG OMG!!!

Oh my gouch!

We just experienced a REAL earthquake and disaster response!!
Me and CJ were at Savalalo when the building shook and I was lying there thinking...hmmm, am sure this will ease...go away, fia moe..but then,.it shook sooo bad that things were falling and brick wall was MOVING!
...Out we went, and the neighbours gathered...still, the shaking persisted...then we were watching the cracks in the wall!

ANyhow, 10 minutes later, Miss CNN is online trying to alert and see if there was a warning...I run to have a shower and realise the ceiling looks a bit ummm...cracked.
Fastest shower ive had in moi loife!

Sirens and CJ says, we have to walk uphill"...NO WAY..hop in the car, drive up, and some random American hitched a ride....St Marys kids running uphill ...20 loaded on the back of a pickup, ...and we hear on the radio that the Sapunaoa, Falealili region has been hit by large waves and unconfirmed reports of 3 casualties and cars washed to sea. Landslide in Solosolo. I am hoping those reports are NOT true.

So, am now at SUNGO waiting for the chaos to finish so i can return to pack my bags.

Some idiots downtown are looting as we speak, this is pathetic.

I hear Lepa, our Dictators village has been hit as well.

I just hope everyone are well!!!

Photos to come soon(-:

I must say, the response have been impressive from the Police, Health, and the other authorities.
We were at the hospital and the CEO and Minister were at the emergency area directing people and sending cars to kua..two women running the show...coolness!!

So whats the message in all this?

Always dress well and wear your best knickers to bed, coz you never know when you need to hit the road with the rest of the population


Manuia le aso

Monday, September 28, 2009

Its a tough life

Laid in the sun for approx 30 minutes and I felt my arms roasting....so I took a 5 minute dip and made sure I alternated my position consistently on the deck chair.
I tell you,
It's a tough job!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Poutasi, Tafua Tai and lots more happening in Samoa

Aumaga a Poutasi, 23 Sept 2009 after our talanoaga
Isn't this beautiful? the view from the Poutasi road before you cross the stream
Two keols coming home from school and wanting their picha taken
At Lani's for the famaree favourite: curry and arice
Who else but Mother Theresa, hehe, no, this is Mom in her latest fashionista journey: saris! Much to our embarrasment, she struts her saris confidently, and all the Indian/Fijian men compliment her in town. Now people with saris in their dowry are gifting her saris and the sari virus is spreading, two of her friends have also unlocked their pusa kus and wearing them to work. Oka, what's next!
Bona Mere on the John Williams Building - at first they said she appeared to free the stranded ship Forum Samoa, then it was to bless Samoa on the road switch, now its saying she is facing the south as a warning about the tsunami...whatever tickled your fancy. We did ask a respectable church member of our EFKS what they thought about it and the answer was suprising "Ua appear mai le tina ona ua ova le palapala o le Ekalesia"...interesting stuff really
My midget before I left.
Ive been home for a week so far to do fieldwaork on the RSE scheme - and I have a badly burnt right cheek to show for it and mossie bites from the plantations of Kafua.

i'll upload those pics later when I have the energy.


I spent the first two days in Poutasi Falealili, it was my first time there and I just loved it. Poutasi faces Nuusafee Island and has a stream running through it. Most of the untitled men have been part of the RSE and are planning the next trip. To my limited understanding, they are the most organised, most forward-thinking group to be part of this seasonal work scheme. One of the criteria for selection is that all men grow more than 3000 tiapula (taro)per person. This ensures that there is food while the men are gone.
I soooo did not want to leave Poutasi because it was gggoooorgeous, but....i had to go)-:

I caught the 8am boat with CJ, Kilisi picked us up and we did a wee tour of the white chinese elephants of Savaii, like the isolated and empty market in the middle of the so called 'township".
We were so so hungry that we headed for the nearest sefe pagikeke and eat two keke puaa's each...yep, fatty artery clogging beauties...then we were onto Tafua Tai.
CJ and I are comfortable with Tafua because we spent many a weekend here were we was vedy vedy small while mother dearest was involved with conservation and the swedish people. We also used to ka palolo here but the seas are quite rough.

Anyhow, by this part of my interviewing, I was getting tired of explaining the information sheet, your right to not answer, sign here, there and everywhere rara...I was beginning to skip things and drift off....thank god CJ is here to help me.
shes a gem!
We couldn't get hold of the group organiser, so went to tafua with Kilisi and stopped at the first house, asked around, 2 people are rse returnees and then we continued like that...drive, stop, ask,...directions...drive....reverse, ask again....until we were driving well past the crater to find the kauleleá men in the maumaga....found them walking back with large timber for a house...stopped until a giu and continued the interview....by this time, it was 12noon, farken hot and the mosquitos were having my arms for lunch. Great!
One of the men got gius for us to drink, then we said goodbye and drove back....and then, Vaóke's car....DIED! I was disquietly panicking "please dont die please dont die!!!"mind you, this is a BRAND new Right hand drive from Niu SIla. Becuase its an automatic, somehow, they can just wire stuff up and fiddle around...so Vaoke somehow got the car to start but we were like...slow and sputtering to the garage...
Kilisi, CJ and I sat under the family's ulu tree and had a yarn about the recent funeral we attended and we updated him with our city news and he filled us in on the village CNN.
Highlights of the discussion:
1. Our faifeau was so disgusted with the youth being drunk that he drove to their homes and beat them senseless while their families watched......not a bad sober-upper i say(-:

2. Our rugby team are coming to the tourny here in Apia, we were on the boat back with the boyses. We say good luck to them because they are a great bunch but they shit their pants at the most important games. So the agreement is, if they do well, they stay till sunday.
If theyre useless, then back on the pasi o le vaa and riding on the boat back to Havaiki right after they game.

3. The disagreement between the Pauli Family and the Government continues. The Govt refuse to pay them for the use of lands, and the Paulis have retaliated with reopening the old market in Salelologa. the new market is disgustingly chinese-modeled, which is to say it is Large. Square. Unimaginative. Impractical and more visually, the sign posts are in ...Mandarin!

4. There is now a lady at the wharf toilets that gives you toilet paper before you do your business. If you are polite, you get a substantial roll of paper, if youre a grumpy cow, you get very little!

5. There are now TWO women working on Lady Samoa II, which has always been a MALE-dominated space.

6. The waitresses at Wildfire SUCK, theyre grumpy and rude. But the food is great. As long as you spell out what you want to order.

7. The bloody cops are all over the place,..and demanding my damned licence-and i havent gotten a temporary one so far, so I got scolded 6 times between Vaimoso and Savalalo.

8. Driving on the left side of the road is now okay, but just being on the outside is freaky, when you try to overtake, you either ...pray hard and overtake or have a reliable passenger on your right telling you whether the road is clear.

9. The taxis have now reduced their speed from 25kph to 10kph, and 5kph over the numerous camaouoflage roadbumps.

10. Its easier to get out of the govt building areas becoz you now exit behind STA office, cool!!!

11. One of the boys in kua was doing the feaus for the Survivor cast and he said that one of his friends lets call him eric, wanted to kill a chicken, but only had a stick, so he said to "ëric"' "whats so hard about killing a chicken? you just get a rock and aim it at the chicken, and then you will be having grilled chicken for dinner". Hmmm...lets see if anyone managed to do that on the show heheh

k, photos coming tomorrow..island time tomorow!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

T's bday

My good friend T turned 30 last night and we made sure it was a night we couldn't remember.
...scallop fest, accompanying shots, too much Oyster Bay savignon and NO men allowed.
T had a ball (really) and I was comatose in bed all day, until Filo and Mikey arrived to cook chop suey this afternoon.
It sucks being hungover with MM.
She finds it amusing that I am nonresposive.
She's walked on my head a few times and tried to wake me up by imitating what I do to her on weekdays.
She firstly snuggles next to me, then she started the "nofo i luuuuga" sweetly for a few moments..."lets go to daycare babyyyyyy" in her singsong voice..."nofo i lugaaaaaaaaaa sugaaa" and then harshly "Gofo i Luga eh! moimimi, i'm gonna leave you here and go eh! you want me to splash water on your face? im going now, Fa".
Except she whacks my head a few times and then thank the Lord, she left me alone,...for a few hours.
but im better now, so im gonna go back to sleep.

there goes my saturday that was meant to be for studying)-:
...hmmm tomorrow will be more productive, yep....the future will be brighter tomorrow, choooohooooo!!!!
Manuia le sapati

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

HOtel Kitano Tusital on Fire

Sadly, the famous old fale of Hotel Kitano and most likely surrounding buildings burned have burned to the ground, tsk tsk, very very sad.

I just hope that beautiful painting of Robert Louis Stevenson is safe, I have always enjoyed seeing that on the wall.


But one wonders.....Reddy Group just bought Kitano recently, ......and it was in desperate need for refurbishment....hmmm....wonder who the insurance provider is...hmmm....food for thought maybe?



Thanks to the owner of the pics which have been forwarded around, Peni Allen from MOF.

Stay Safe Samoa

Tulou, this is a shitty post.

I bet you didn't know that:
In 2006, 77% of Samoan households owned a flush toilet.
16% own a pour flush toilet
7% used faleuila eli (pit)
and 0.4% were still faakikiparing under the ulu with a fu'afu'a leaf.

In fact, there were 10% more flush toilets in 2001, which can mean an increase on pour flush toilets since then or possible becuase the flush toilet stopped flushing automatically and became a pour flush toilet in the end.

If accommodation providers are accounted for in the 2006 census, then the faleuila elis are disproportionately high and not representative of the actual households. This is because Samoana Resort have all long-drop/hear-your-momo-go-'thud'-in-the-soil-eco-friendly pit toilets.
And they have more than 15 rooms.

To my knowledge, there are no peace corp toilets left, but the remnants of the flimpsy structures are still visible in some villages. Its a pity that we now have to be environmentally friendly and overly hygenic and pc because the most fascinating thing ever was watching the fish go crazy over your humble offerings.
Let alone the walk on rotting timber to get to the beach house was an adventure in itself.

Now, going to the toilet is just so.
ordinary.


Have a good shit peoples....Manuia "feau" o le aso...choooohoooo!!!

Digression:
As I was looking for images of faleuila elis on google, I thought, hmmm, they were phased out by the early 80s....so I googled the images of "samoa 1960s, 70s, old photos etc...but nothing prepared me for the first image after asking for "old samoa photos". ...yuck, that poor man would'a been mocked, or worshipped.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This is for Malelega a le To'elau



She was the girl who learnt to really speak English.
Like all of us, except, her English made sense
And white people knew what she was englishing about.
Because she practiced her England with them.
Unlike CJ and Di T who spoke a dialect that was unidentifiable.
..and were too ‘ma’ to be mocked for their broken language.
But this story is about Malelega, she who was meant to be
THE LAST.
“OMEGA”
Much to our parent’s relief, their best work yet popped around 2 years and 1 month later.
But hey, this story is about
Malelega.
She had nice hair and straight teeth and a pretty face.
And the hottest boy in the district
Liked her.
Because he winked at her during choir practice.
That alone made her “cool”
She was always top of her class
Or winning a speech competition.
Who of us would forget “A thing of beauty, is a joy forever”
Or an essay writing competition,
Or a winning science project about growing mould.
Or winning the taupou dance for the Teuila Fest
She is the only one amongst us (fobsquad from Savaii) who remembered Birthdays
And sent flowers and cards and letters
..And Received letters.
Because she is sincere, caring, considerate, forward thinking and beautiful like that.
Yes, she’s my gorgeous sister like that.
Happy Birthday Omega Malelega

Monday, September 07, 2009

Tamaitai Samoa- their stories

Yesterday, I did challenge myself to have a 'positive energy' day today.
...and I felt it was best not to write because I just find airy fairy cheery blabberings a waste of "good" time.
Rather, I'd Live and absorb the happy times and use this blog to scream out my not-so-happy joy joy momentos.
Comprend?
Good.

...but my moments of cheeriness are blurred with my near tears, not from tragedy or misfortune but by Koke Aiono.
As I was reading all the news reports about the road switch, I stumbled across a book (online) by Peggy Fairbairn Dunlop titled "Tamaitai Samoa - their stories".

Koke's story left me so intriqued and sentimental about her, her life and the life of older Samoans like her who have lived through so much and whose life stories are sadly not shared.
I must be premenstual becuase I am overly emotional.
Argh.
Koke has always one of my inspirations growing up. But reading and living through her childhood narration and her youthfulness is even more insightful.
She refers to when she was a child, gathered around her grandfather while he told fagogo and they responded with an "Aue".
We did this with our grandmother Faleasiu and great uncle Lealali Iopu.
I was born six decades after Koke but I felt a connection with her experience as a child, anxious for the fagogo, but only after we ku'iku'i the elder's feet or walked on their back or fetched their kapa'a.
The difference ended there.
Koke walked the length of Samoa to teach children and teach teachers, she had nine children, she played a major role in the development of the samoan school cirriculum and the Peace Corp's learning of the samoan language and she had a huge influence on the samoan language we were taught in school and and she was simply.....amazing!!
There is another story that I could access about Tiresa Lesatele Vaai, which is even more inspirational because her humble beginnings were from Sataua in Savaii, one the villages that were completely destroyed by Ofa and Val cyclones in 90' and 91'.
I love that this book tells the stories in a simple and understandable way that it is so truthfully telling.
I love this book before I even bought it!
Even Aljezeera is reporting on the road switch!

Cherelle just posted a
story about the switch...hmm, so far so good.

Stay alert peoples!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Get updated on Samoa's road switch

I found a blog that updates on the road switch and the stuff that are reported about the switch and it had a copy of the elusive road code....interesting times ahead.
Enjoy...and stay alive my peoples....

I haven't much to report this week, as I have been rather preoccupied with work, studies, MM banging her head on a drawer and subsequent visit to A&E, work and sustainability.
As to why that uninteresting last word is on my list baffles me but it is true.
Sustainability is my chosen topic for MCOM, I have made a submission towards the 40% reducing to emissions by 2020 campaign, cloth nappies are the new black and the market is greenwashed with green products, green energy, green choices, green shit if you like blahblahblah.
Same problem as 10, 20 years ago...environment issues, but now theres a chching dollar value to it all.
Now, big business don't have the guilt conscience because they can happily brag about being sustainable because they use organic toilet paper while they send their real toxic stuff to China and Indonesia.
So where am I in all this sustainable hoopla?
I am now a 'watered' down optimist who still thinks there's hope, but I won't preach about it and I won't put my money on it. (What money? hah!).
I'm doing what the silent majority are doing...cry wolf about the state of the earth but won't pay the price if it appears on my monthly costs.
"Not in my backyard mate"
Which sums my generation up very well....I have been born into and raised into a world of convenience and now it's an uphill struggle to wean myself off my daily cushy comforts.
I blame technology for making me and my "generators" so bloody dependent, spoiled and ...okay, damnit,...LAZY!

We didn't survive a famine, we didn't fight a war, we didn't have to deal with tubeculosis and filarisis. We just cruised (and twittered) through a world filled with unnessary technology, materialism and a knack for failed solutions like dialogue, Kyoto protocols, sustainability reports and communication.
These are all sorry excuses for failure to get off our arses off the couch and make a real difference.
WE SUCK, YOU SUCK (If you're under 45) WE can't even make decisions about our farken planet without getting our knickers into a twist...our ancestors paved the way for us but little did they know their efforts have been all for very little hope.

oka oka e, ain't I just an emmission of postive energy today?
...and it's only 4:55pm on a Monday afternoon...what will I be come Wednesday?
Note to self: Positive Day tomorrow.
Assuming all goes well with the switch.
Knock on wood.
Especially since its been raining today and the painted arrows would wash away in no time)-:
...positive enery....oooooommmmmmmmm........

Friday, September 04, 2009

BE SAFE ON THE WRONG SIDE!!

My beloved peoples of Samoa, may you have a safe road switch on Monday
CJ, please stop, think and stick something to your windscreen to remind you, and BE CAREFUL!!!!
luv you prenty!

And to the new Miss Samoa who will be chosen tonight, ...(my pick is Jacinta Bourne)...stay safe!!!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It’s what’s best for me, they say

For *Rocky(:

Eh!
Bashful colours
Flamboyant movements
The soft breeze reeks of happiness
Your presence chokes my serene silence
“Hello handsome!”
“How are you honey”
“Here’s your cuppa lovey”
...sweetie, doll, darling!”
Your joyfulness
So pungent
Nauseating even
Why can't you
Just
Let me be?

You’ve checked me in.
“It’ll be perfect for your needs!
Honey!”
Aisea?
To be somewhat free?
Of me?
To be independent and to rehabilitate
Recover and stand,
On my own shaky feet
Why then do I feel...
Trapped
Lost
Aimless?
Or is it just me?

Go away now
And let me be,
My silence comforts me
My soul weeps with me
My spirit yearns,...hopes...waits
...For an solution that will never be
So go away now,
But leave me the silence that comforts me.

*My brother, now a r.n at TTMHosp and only male trained midwife in Samoa suffered from depression while I was young (aged 12) and I was completely unaware of what it meant. With so little understanding of the mental illness, he was moved from doctor to priest to traditional healer all over Samoa to find a "cure". Many decided he was 'pocessed' by demons(oh for the farken dramatics of village taulasea diagnosis).
He eventually recovered but at the time, he refused to utter a word to anybody for months on end, he suffered in silence. Today, he continues to help others, the same way we failed to help him.