Friday, November 17, 2017

Tonga vs Samoa finest moment



We're in the midst of the Rugby League World Cup and the most exciting, most passionate and loudest is the #Matemaatonga supporter and their incredible team. 

I love that we see unity and celebration at the moment. 

I hate that mainstream media are only ever focussed on the few that get rowdy - its a frank reminder that despite everything, the system is tainted by the privileged lens of a few. 

In any case, it doesn't dampen the spirit for thousands who are getting amongst it. 

Hopefully by the next round, the rest of the other player will follow Taumalolo's lead and choose country over $$$. 


Friday, November 10, 2017

I don't want to bend d' knee for this, so please, do it for the children


Every now and then, I make incredibly uninformed decisions like agree to do the last leg of the Head2Head walk.
For those of you who know me, I ain't your marathon fitness freak, so a lot of donuts and pork bellies had to remain untouched in the last week in preparation for this.
I only do shite like this because I see the incredibly worthy cause, every donation goes directly to growing food gardens in primary schools in our area of South Auckland.
Lots of primary schools have already benefitted from this and use their food gardens for meals and teaches the kiddies about healthy eating.
So, where do you come in?
- Donating of course before, just $5 will get me 50 steps closer to completing my 29kms and I won't fall on my face in shame. Refer link below.
- Or, Instead of donating, if you want something from me in return, you can get a:


- Pale/ei katu: $50.00
- A specially crafted eulogy lovingly made for you: $35.00.
- Your own copy of the banned saucy Fifty Shades of Savaii: $35.00
- A snapchat story about a woman buying a car and encounters with car salesmen: $15
- A tuiga of my choice: $200
- Mission Estate Winery Merlot on my desk right now: $30
- Post-it Flags: $5.00
- A siva samoa dance lesson: $50 + Donuts
- How to make a pale/ei katu session: $50 + wine
- Improving your CV: $25 + wine.
- A Truthful session about your dress sense: $15.
- How to introduce yourself in Samoan: $15
- A unique name for your baby: $20
Or anything else that's acceptable and doesn't require me to bend d' knee.

ok,
fa loa


Link below or Westpac 03-1500-0261359-000 EVERY CENT GOES INTO THE EVENT.
HeadtoHead Walk
 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Most consistent blogging phases in ages

You, my one reader might have noticed that I've been updating heaps lately.

Well well, I've been updating because I am meant to finish my assignments and instead, am blogging.

I have zero motivation to complete it, so yah, such is life.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

When your faith blinds your humanity

Saw the case about the gospel singer from American Samoa  - read it yourself. 

Then I saw the thousands of comments in the original article, of people getting angry at why this poor man (the gospel singer) has been mistreated etc. 

I get that when this is happening to your loved one, you would be protective too. And yes, spare a thought for his poor family who are affected by this ): That's our nature. 

But please pause for about 5 seconds and get this: 

He assaulted a minor.  


Let justice prevail. 


I love our people's sense of family until it comes to sexual assault, then we bond together to protect our honour, our church, our village, our pride and we shit on the victim. 



Ua sese le mic lea ua pese ai le alii lea 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Eating Wriggling Delicacies

Blessed is the worm that slide through my shivering fingers and into the salty black ocean,

Lament the unlucky worm caught in Uncle Satuu’s home-made mosquito net racket that is immediately devoured.
Chomp on blue, green, red worms while they squirm for their short-lived existence.
Samoan delicacy at its best - Live, wriggling reproductive organs that float to the glassy surface only once or twice on a balmy full moon.
The one night when we don’t mind being awake at 2am to sew fragrant mosooi and frangipani and to patch mosquito nets to be used for catching the ellusive worms.
Throw in a dozen bottles of Vailima and the night stretches out into the dark shadows of sleeping Itu-o-Tane shorelines.
Only to be disrupted by coconut lit fires and disgruntled pigs as humans take their place under leafy fuafua trees.
We wait and wait and wait and wait.
In the shadows.
While able bodied men paddle their flimsy canoes in search for where the palolo will choose to rise.
“It’s going be a good year, I can feel it” says the toothless man from Fagamalo.
“I doubt it, there were no thunders and worst of all, no lightning in October, it’s a waste of time” mumbled the old lady from Avao. In the darkness, I see the shine of her two gold teeth and the pink of her round plastic hoop earrings.
I think to myself, If I was a palolo, I would swim away as fast as I could from her.
The early morning air is a pungent fusion of Impulse perfumes mixed with fragipanis, mosooi and pig shit.
Depending where you’re stepping in the dark, the latter can be unpleasant.

Women gather their children, chiefs chat near the fires, young lovers hold hands in the pleasant darkness, young girls gaze at half undressed boys and dogs bark into the darkness because they can. Until someone throws a rock unto their emaciated ribs and quietens them momentarily.
As we wait, we worry.
The sun rises not too far away, yet the palolo refuses to surface.
But as the fires start to die out, the voices of the men fill the air, and a sea of bodies rush to the sea, with buckets and nets and Goodyear tyre floaters and little children in tow.

Nevermind the dangerous undercurrent..
Nevermind the rising tide..
Nevermind the sharp corals..
Nevermind the reef’s treacherous edge looming close..
Nevermind the hungry sharks.
Nevermind the bodies swept out to the unforgiving deep, still holding onto their buckets of worms, never to be recovered.
“Make laia, it just wasn’t their year” says the toothless old woman, while she chows wriggling palolo between her two gold teeth.

Photo credit: Michelle McFall's catch today, luckayyy!

The Longest Farewell

My fabulously amazing friend left Samoa for a job abroad.
This friend is basically what connects most of the blogger whores I know on here, like Ms Faikakala, Ms Kuaback, Ms Sui soo sui soo lau blog lou aikae Lichi, Ms Dissapear koe appear Nyds, Ms Geneva Never Updates.
Anyhow, in the weeks leading up to this friend's departure, Frenchy piped up about how it seemed like a departure from Earth altogether with the busiest agenda of farewells, meals and gatherings after gatherings.
Very very busy sluzza this one.

While we laughed about it in jest, it was an apt reminder that,

Really, at the end of the day, it's all down to how you treat people.

That easy. Most of ta toime ov course.

Best best wishes on the new start and I cannot wait for you to settle in so we can pop over,
auoi a, pei e kaukala Khloe sole.

bye,



Wednesday, October 11, 2017

O au o matua fanau - White Sunday Tradition and the Child.


Lotu Tamaiti

If you're a child who grew up in the EFKS, or Metotisi in Samoa you would have experienced White Sunday and survived to tell your story. White Sunday for those who don't know is the one sunday in October where children celebrate - from age 0 to humans who are not married, yes, you are still deemed a child then- or at least, that's how it's done in my villajj.
Now, the concept of 'celebrate' is a bit different here - celebrate means that on the day, many children will receive new clothes, accessories and shoes and they stand in front of the congregation and speak, or sing, or pray or in many cases, should you fail to do the former, then you will cry knowing your momma is killing you with her death stare. But yes, celebrate and rejoice in church, followed by a lavish feast where - for just one day only, you, the child will be served and fed first instead of the adults. 
Like, woooow, you get to eat first. 
Usually, children will also get to ice cream for this one day only. 
Then, you will sleep or rest, and then you have the Lotu afiafi where you have more taulotos in front of the congregation and more food. 

Lotu Tamaiti were some of my fondest memories growing up. I loved the excitement of the day and the promise of newness and a dress that my mom had laboured over well into the early hours. 
I loved the moment in the morning where all the children lined up outside church and walked in a single line into the church where a very long service will ensure. 
I loved how on this day, whoever of your loved ones who passed away during the year, you get to remember them in a item or a song. (and a financial donation ov course hah) 
I love love loved the characters that emerge at Lotu Tamaiti among the villagers. Like the nervous speaker, the gifted singers, the hilarious comedians (my little sister was one of those), the ones who remembers their lines and executed them with finesse(older sister) and the kids who just didn't give a shit (my brother S). 
White Sundays, absolute joy. 

Now,  
There's bits about White Sunday I need to mention here,... the bit about rehearsals and practices that take place months before White Sunday.  These happen initially once or twice a week, but as October approaches, those increase in days and intensity,...so much that your life simply becomes about white Sunday practices, adults yelling and repetition repetition repetition. 
Whenever I meet with palagis who comment on our people's (and Pacific people in general's)confidence and singing ability, I smile and nod. I smile but deep inside, I think,  "That's correct, we have endured years of public speaking under duress and singing errydayy. Not because we love it but because of the consequences choohoo"

Anyhow, its 2017 and what I share above continues - for Samoans all over the world who belong to EFKS. Now other churches also celebrate White Sunday as well and it's become a much anticipated event. 

As with all my faiga-stories - there's always the dudui factor lol - the critical factor that makes you roll your eyeballs. That is, while we celebrate this day happily, it is also the day of desperation for so so many families. It is so heartbreaking seeing how far parents go to provide for their children and to prepare them for their day.  Part of my work at the moment involves a financial literacy project and we know that in the lead up to events like White Sunday, so many of our people scramble for funds to get their children ready and to get that feast sorted. I also know that in Samoa, so many are borrowing from anywhere and everywhere to make it happen.  
Now that's the bit which makes me - once again - question how we do things. 
White Sunday isn't joyful for everyone, especially when not everyone have the same access to resources. But it's also a reminder of how much parents treasure their children and how far they'll go. 
This is deeply affirmed when you hear people say "ia, o pelega o fanau" - it's for the children, or better translated by Fa'asaulala Tagoilelagi as "treasuring our children". 

I sometimes wonder though, whether we lose the essence of the day by placing so much emphasis on the things that shine? 
I also wonder about the widening gap between the rich and the desperate, which is blatantly flaunted on this one special day. In. yer. face, my bling, my 2 white dresses and my 2 pairs of shoes, 
I also wonder, about the children whose families are not able to afford all these things. 
And lastly, I wonder, about the other 364 days of the day and whether we should spread of some of this love, so that children are celebrated more, treasured more and treated with compassion. 
Just have a fink aboudit. 

Ia manuia le aso sa o tamaiti. 



Just saw this on Samoa Observer, well said Deacon Kasiano Leaupepe! Love it!  
The Chairman of the National Council of Churches, Deacon Kasiano Le’aupepe, has a simple message for the nation.He wants parents to use today to renew their commitment to care, protect and raise their children to become the best they can be when they grow up.“White Sunday is a very special occasion,” he said. “It is a day for rejoicing for the children and everyone is nice to the children, treating them with love and care because it is a day ‘special’ for them."“If White Sunday generates within our families a special feeling of peace and love towards our children, why don’t we make that everyday standard and thereby practice putting an end to all violence and abuse.”Kasiano believes that violence and ill treatment against children is not going to stop as long as we continue to selectively use texts from the bible to justify our action.“Everyone should be responsible and in my honest opinion, if we treat them badly our children will grow up to have children of their own and will apply to them the same violent treatment they witnessed as youngsters and so the cycle continues."“Parents, churches and the whole community can play an influential role in putting an end to this for our children."He said change was not going to happen overnight. “Change will come if we keep hammering the same message consistently and our community and church together with our leaders are seen leading by example. He adds it is not just the physical abuse and violence we should be concerned about. “It is also verbal violence and I believe that’s why many children leave home at a very young age.” Kasiano said. “Everyday should be White Sunday and that special treatment for them today should continue everyday." “Our children need all the love they can get, we as parents must provide them with an environment that is free from physical and emotional abuses." “Instead of punishing them for their mistakes we must explain to them why a particular behaviour is not acceptable and we may have to do that many times for them to understand."  He adds another problem today is children selling items on the street everyday.   “This will certainly reduce severely the chances of them getting employment later on.”Kasiano says the best gift parents can give to their children is education.“White Sunday is truly a Samoan innovation that we should be proud of and I am sure other countries too have followed and adopted the concept years ago."“Let today, after the feasting and songs, be used to renew our commitment to our children."“Remember to raise them in Godly love. Happy White Sunday Samoa.”

  




Sunday, October 08, 2017

O Pese ma Viiga I le Atua

Wow.
The Internet is a marvellous joy sometimes!!!

I just stumbled upon an earlier version of the EFKS Hymn Book - when it was under the London Missionary Society.


 
 
Love it!
 
 
 
 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

We could've been amazing

Elections have come and gone.

National Party won in terms of seats.

Maori lost in terms of an independent voice in Parliament.

Labour won in terms of Maori and Pacific representation overall.

Greens crept back and retained 7 seats.

Chloe Swarbrick becomes the youngest MP in several decades

Marama Fox lost her cool and got anggggggarrrraaayyy

Winston will once again be the King/QueenMaker.

Overall, it was an awkward night.
It was like a one night stand which turned out to be a dud. So much excitement for very little. choohooo.

So, there's me, a voter - a nobody really in the greater scheme of things. Normally I don't give much thought to politics but this time, my interest was piqued.

For a while there, I suddenly had faith and conviction that this election round was crucial, especially in light of the challenges my adopted nation faces.

Issues
What gave me hope was the fact that the issues that affect our most vulnerable was brought to the fore. The current PM was forced to accept that child poverty is real and he had to front up with a genuine commitment.
Mental Health, suddenly - you can no longer sweep this under the carpet, especially with the extraordinary rate of suicide in NZ.

Who controls the talanoa / discussion?
The bit that worries me about New Zealand is that much of the issues are politicized to the point where those who actually need the help are simply spectators while appointed leaders hijack.
I feel that discussing and doing something about these problems is a year long - all the time responsibility, not just a 3 yearly event.

Which then brings me
to
Pacific people.

Politics this time round totally brought out the monsters in people who have a stake (or rather a placard) in elections.

There was so much noise and chaos as we were asked to choose Blue, choose Red, choose Black, choose Black with a tinge of pipilo, choose whatever.
Even choose brown and shove your beliefs in people's throats, using the bible as your front. So very ugly.

And I stand there laughing at the irony of it all.

There is frustration about why young and Pacific people aren't engaged....I mean, look at how you are behaving.

The reality is,

We have some pretty major problems as Pacific people in New Zealand today.
We continue to lead in all the shitty statistics, poor health outcomes, depressing retention rates, drop out rates, lowest rate of home ownership, NCDs etc etc.
I so wish we didn't wait for Politicians to dominate these issues.
There is so so much we can do in the meantime, that would make a difference.
There is so much educating we need to do to get our young people further. But being more successful requires those in power to take off their political colours and get amongst it.

My hope (and mission) as a person living in NZ is this:

-That the issues that have been bandied around remain at the forefront all the time for those in power and everyone affected.
- That I continue to bring people who lack empathy and don't know struggle to be immersed and exposed to those spaces where hard-working kiwis are trying to make ends meet. Nothing like being immersed to really understand and be a better human. a more compassionate one. and less of a dick.
- That I continue to take my crew of amazing resilient humans who are in challenging situations out of their comfort zones and remind them that the world is theirs too. That their colour and ethnicity and social standing means everything is they choose or nothing, if they want. They choose. Their lives, their say.

I've gotten over my election hangover now and I'm accepting that while we have extreme problems, not many are prepared to be courageous and show compassion.
We may have been on the cusp of greatness, but more of us prefer to keep our white picket fences tidy and our yatchs under cover.
And that's just life.
I'm accepting it, but it should mean it becomes me.
We have a choice. We have the chance now to demand action from whatever Government is picked by Winnie.





Monday, September 18, 2017

Politics maketh monsters of peoples

so, 
it's a week out from elections and it is cuuuuraaaazzzzyyyy

Everywhere we are - politics is completely in yer facials and I cannot wait for it to pass. 

This time round it's been really exciting because up to now, we have no idea who will win. 
anyhow, what im thrilled about it the number of young people who have stepped up as candidates, it's super encouraging! 

Now, the funny part I have come to learn about politics in the Pacific space is that it is an absolutely contested space between strong opinions, alliances and belief systems. 
In short, it's a pacific clusterf$%k. 



anyhow, some of the highlights of election build-ups so far are:


Sexism is well and alive. 

There are more stupid people in the world than there are, informed and critical thinking humans. duh. 

It's a contest of those who champion for themselves in an individual "me me me" world versus the well-being of a nation. 

You don't get alaga pua'a and corned beef for your tick here - so different from my villarg lol 

It's almost over. 

The fact that vote in te reo is : poti. which also means cat.




"A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." ~ Mahatma Ghandi


Monday, August 21, 2017

Catholic Fagogo

I'm doing a fagogo tomorrow to a catholic school.
It's giving me fond memories of my own catholic school and the things learnt that I now recall with fondness(and will form part of my story - minus the juicy version).

The Irish nuns who taught us limerick and songs that I thought were catholic and then discovered in NZ that they're really more popular in pubs. Cheers!

The hidings with the broom for not have clean nails and a handkerchief pinned and ironed onto our uniform pockets.

Countless fundraisings and the missing monies thereafter, choohooo. Tausala, lulu - raffle, kusiga igoa, tausala, lulu-raffle, tausala, raffle, lulu, tausala.

The large trees that we climbed into and played under, digging out afako and searching for treasure.

The breadfruits that fell to the ground and sticks to yer jandals.

The walks home where we eat several meals from Fusi to Sapapalii to Safuapalamims and swim in the pools before getting home.

The catholic mass services that started every term, ended every term and marked every occasion.

The truck that arrives with milk biscuits after the storm.

The angry nun that screams from morning to noon.

The clothes bazaar where the room is full of bodies grabbing bargains.

The Fridays spent cutting grass with sapelus (machetes), weeding vaofefe, eating ice blocks from Oka Fauolo's mom's freezer, eating mangoes from Leilua Kelemekes dipped in salt, running away from wild dogs barking, eating cream buns under the pulu tree, drinking from the tap, ringing the bell and hearing music from the church, watching the mom coming to avenge the child who made her child cry, playing tip top with wool and aki with small rocks until someone wins, or cries.

The smell, oh the smell of purple carbon paper that we write our answers on so diligently.

Year 1 swims in the ocean even though only a few of the kids knew how to swim. Building resilience if you survive it haha,

The scandal, the scandal and the children that watch and absorb it all.

Oh the joys of catholic schooling, filled with fun, fear, feasts, faith and now, fagogo.

Aue.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Samoan when you're down.

Another *cute example of how another mainstream newspaper views a story:
That a woman who is a kiwi, represents Local government, an accomplished citizen of NZ, graduate and leader is simply reduced to being "othered" because she spoke up about racism.
"Samoan politician" ain't it adorable how ethnicity comes in so handy when it's a contentious issue but no questions asked about her kiwiness if she was throwing a javelin at Olympics? Or winning a golf tourny?
I suppose Bern...ard Orsman, the writer of this saw that a woman has complained, read the press release by Skycity and thought: yep, they're just doing their job.
He also refers to Efeso Collin's experience last year and in a negative way., as if they were crying wolf and thrown unfounded accusations.
Absolutely *cute.
Skycity - quick to rob but slow to grow a conscience.

*cute: how privilege views the world and judges everyone not part of that privilege.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11894573


 

Borrowing in the samoan context

I imagine that as the world evolves and humanity strides ahead, one thing will not never. ever. change.

My people's interpretation of the concept  'Borrowing'., faagoi (ae le fa'afoia, oi aue)

Here's what the borrow word means in my village:
When the kid from the house next to your house comes to say:
"My mother sent me to borrow your teuila flowers because it's our family's turn to decorate the pulpit this Sunday"

This means they are asking to take something, and there is no intention of returning it.

Things that people borrow pretty much range from anything to everything that can be moved, lifted and taken.

One of the things that baffled/angered me growing up was seeing MY clothes on the pa'uelo girl from the village, and knowing it was "borrowed" from our washing.

Or seeing our bed sheets blowing from their clothesline - along with our last name brightly marked on the corner of the sheet - and seeing the borrower - owner deny taking it.

Borrowing with no intention of returning occurs right through our system.

Even last week, there was that list of names in the newspaper stating those who owe money to a local business.

And then a sort of related case of crook or fake 'real estate' people who take money off people and

But I take you back now on a little borrow kind of fagogo - except, this shit is real.
Please note, If you're a self-righteous perfect person with morals intact, I beg you, please fuck off now because this fagogo will offend you. ok bye,

Now, where was I?

"There is a guy who is basically a born pervert. He is famous for masturbating while women are showering unaware. He is so well known for his perversion that he had been fined several times by the village council, which ironically are full of perverts anyway, but that's another fagogo.
Anyway, I know a woman who was showering one day and as she was lathering soap on her body, she looked down at the hole where the water flows into and she saw the infamous guy's face - but that's not the funny part. That comes next, ...he was lying down on the ground, with his face looking up where that soap and water is splashing and so he was repeatedly wiping it off his face with one hand and his other hand was beating his tipo. So you can imagine, it was a real juggling act.
The woman pretended she didn't see the perv and quickly finished, then walked out, towelled and ran outside to catch him.
She caught his as he was adjusting his lavalava, and he was sort of dirty from lying down in the dirt,
She was angry and yell what the fuck he was doing there and in a rather calm manner, he responded:
"Oh hi, I came to borrow some kipolo" (minor detail, there isn't a single kipolo tree in the whole area.

So you see, the art of borrowing is pretty complex in the samoan context. No doubt there are exceptions and if you've never encountered a problem with someone borrowing your valuables permanently, I say this to you. You lucky fukker. Keep those freaks close to your heart because they are special and rare and unique.

My message for the month is this:

If someone borrows something for you and they are Samoan, say bye. Just. say. bye. to your belonging.
Kiss it, hug it, say some words of love because this is goodbye,.
If it comes back to you ae le'i malepelepe, good on you.
If not, at least you say your goodbyes,

Things people borrowed from me and I want it back:

-My Pablo escobar book
-My pink shoes in Year 4 that I left in my bag when our class when fishing and then I got a subsequent hiding for not looking after my shoes even though the ailalafa chic from sapapalii took it
- Our family tuiga that up to this day remains with a family who borrowed it and never came back
- My elei white puletasi that I saw in the washing in Paia even though we were only dropping in to visit family
- Our cow St John that a family from Puapua picked up one day but I know ended up at the funeral
- My scarves - sisters, I'm looking at you bitches
- My pony that I never owned.
- My virginity - oh wait. nevermind hahaha



ia, ua lava ia kala


























Friday, June 09, 2017

Mom doing her siva

Last week, the long anticipated Life-Con explosion took place in Samoa.
It looked amazing!!!
anyhow, mom ended up doing her usual  but this time, my friend sent a vid of her siva and when I posted it on FB - there were so many comments and shares about her performance.,lol

Mom has always been and always will be the performers. She's a gifted dancer and she puts her emotions into that siva like her life depends on it.

We are absolutely blessed to have her as our mom and pray that she continues to stay joyful and dancing for a very long time.

proud of my momma,

and love you Henry for recording!

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I finally found time to read Whispers and Vanities, wow,. love Tuiatua's mind!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Learning to let go

For the last 10 years, I've been running Samoa Language Week activities in my community, because I love it, and mainly because my smalls benefit as a result,

This year, I left the country to be far away from Samoans. lol.

No really.

The school programme has morphed into a life of its own, and it made me relieved and also a bit sad seeing it being fully adopted and supported by school. This means it's no longer the onus on me to harass and beg for air time, resources, priority.
After much persistence and diy-ing, they have taken it on.

But I want to share my little experience:

Don't wait for Government, School Board, Funding, or numbers to make your pacific language an area of focus.

If you don't do something, then no one will give a damn.

What irks me about samoan language in New Zealand is this, we have thousands of Samoans who have resided in Auckland city, Polilua and beyond since the 70s and guess what, there are only a few schools that have a bilingual unit or any focus on Samoan language.

Makuai fumfa lava kakou....ka ke igoigo ai fo'i sole I le kele o gei community leaders and a oka va'ai I le fa'alekogu lea e iai, oi aueee...

Anyway, back to positive energy


O le matou taumafaiga lea mo lenei tausaga, o le finau lea e fa'ataua taumafaiga a tamaiti ae maise lava o le a'oa'oina lea o mataupu e pei o le Science, Tech, Engineering, Math.

O tamaiti o lo'o talatalanoa mai le ata lenei - e ese le maoa'e o lo latou tomai i STEM subjects, ma'umau pe ana lelei ua fa'apea aoga ma faiaoga.




Thursday, April 20, 2017

Domino Effect


After a few years off - I decided to do some study. After all, I work in an academic institution and I felt that I was losing sight of that whole ‘student experience’.
My superior was very supportive and in my mind, I thought, how hard can it be, it’s just another paper.
A few weeks on and my goodness, how I underestimate my propensity for fluffing about and not focussing on my assignments. Pardon my swahili.
The irony of all this is, my life over the last decade has been about encouraging and pushing students to excel, focus, achieve and more. Oh the irony.
As I type this, I am inhaling chunks of humble pie and wtfwasithinking pudding, downed with dafugg smoothies.
I’m grateful that I resumed studying because it reminded me of how so very important it is to plan, plan, and plan my work.
It reminded me also when my assignments are overwhelming and the work is piling up, avoiding it solves nothing. Being sad solves nothing. Busying myself with other activites does not help. Procrastinating solves nothing.
But communicating helps, planning ahead helps, taking ownership for my failures help, and gettingTF off Facebook does miracles.
I guess what I’m saying is, I suck at studying, I lost my study mojo but I’m getting it back slowly. I also have to honest to myself and accept that I need time to focus on my assignments and stop telling people that I’m ok.
And to all the students who I harrase and say “You can do it!!! Chip away, you got this!!!I believe in you!!!” simply remember this, do as I say, do it for those who can’t like me, lol.

Monday, April 17, 2017

When chicken soup conjures sweet memories

I made hearty chicken soup this week.
My cousin and her precious newborn were here, and my/our island response to feeding someone unwell is naturally to make soup.
When she ate it, she laughed out loud and said "This totally reminded me of the Granma's soup a ea"
Ps, we grew up together in Savaii and reminisced about Granma and that this is the time she passed.
Anyhow, it was a joyful evening laughing about her funny jokes and remarks.

A few days later, while having lunch with the smalls, I explained to MM how Granma's meal needed to be prepared and fed to her. And right there and then, I just couldn't stop my tears - and just wept, ae makamaka le au laiki.

Note, I'm not really an emotional person, so this was awks.

It got me thinking about home. A lot.

And the concept of home.

And our mortality.

Oka ka'i deep.

We were blessed that our grandmother lived to old age, and it got me thinking of those who have lost their loves too soon.

To cancer and all other illnesses, to car accidents and violence and much more.

So heartbreaking and I'm depressing myself thinking about it.

But I feel that the greatest lesson I learnt about the loss of my Grandmother is this,

She had very little in terms of material things but she gave her all, to others.

Despite having suffered a stroke in the early 80s, she remained strong, in her mind and in her heart and soul right to the end.

And while she laid in that double bed, with her bible, pese, money box and harmonica alongside her, she spoke and sang hymns, told legends, recited chants, told us stories of who was connected to who and who had sex with who, haha. She reminded us who we were/ are. She protected us from the beatings dished to us. She stopped us from fighting among ourselves. She okegiaed everyone from her bed, including the faifeau.
She yelled out at spirits that wandered in the dead of the night. She prayed for us, with us and she made us recite an hour of scriptures every night before dinner.
 She may have been unwell physically but her mind was on form.

Each of us who grew up with grandparents have had the privilege of gaining insight into their worlds, and they poured knowledge into our minds.

Today
And then I reflect on the people of our family and others who have passed away long before they had aged, and it got me even sadder for the knowledge they took to the grave. And the children they leave behind, who won't get to ask them questions, or make them chicken soup.

Today, if you have an elderly parent or person in your family, take the time to talk to them and have a chat, record their stories, or even write it down - so that their memories will be later on part of your family treasures.


Some things I wrote down about my Granma many years ago which is making me laugh now:

Faleasi'u once sneaked out
from Papauta school and went with her mates to meet the Aele boys across the street.
Upon return, Salamasina beat them up with a broom stick until it broke and made them walk all the way to Mulinuu to fetch seawater.

Not bad for a nite out with the boys. heh

---

Faleasi'u used to remind us that laughing too loud meant 'ua ova lo'u aka kauvalaau, ua ova lo'u fia faikoolua laikiki ma lou fia lokeloke le polo a le kamaloa'.
Translation: I am laughing with the intention of drawing attention, from the opposite sex, because I want to get a husband at a young age and I want to play his balls.
---
Faleasi'u lived in Pago Pago for a while and they used to go up the hill to collect coconuts and roll it down the hill. not sure why I remember this one hmmm.
She was a bit of a tomboy and was really good with building things, including tables and chairs. She did a lot of this in Manase, where her parents were faifeau and where her youngest child was born (Tanumafili who the newborn babe above is called :)

---
Faleasi'u used to listen to 2AP and she would say to us, you must go and enrol at aoga matataese i tuasivi, learn a trade in carpentry, "until I'm ready to go to Papauta Girls School where I will be taught how to be a lady, and be a good wife to a Congregational Church Minister and we will be have many children, who will wear only what I will sew from my sewing machine, I will learn embroidery for the pillows and bedspreads and make sure I pleasure my Church Minister husband well or else a member of the choir will be fondling with his balls."

You're welcome.










Thursday, March 30, 2017

Throwback Polyfest 2 weeks ago....stunning !

Monday, March 20, 2017

Polyfest taupou season done for the year,

Our gorgeous taupou came 2nd this year and she did an amazing job.
Fa'afetai Netta's aiga for letting me be part of this
incredible/stressful/tiring/invigorating/inspiring/meaningful
journey.
 
 

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Keep on Going - International Woman's Day #IWD 2017

IWD, International Woman's Day is tomorrow, and so is the deadline for my assignment, I therefore found the time miraculously to blog about this issue because, neither the day or the assignment is exciting me too much right now.

So, Samoan woman. Where are you?
 
In my mind, there are two very distinct paths that define a samoan woman in the samoan context,
You can be a tama'itai, honoured, has esteemed purpose, celebrated.
or a fafige or keige: simply a woman.
A tamaita'i has status and is respected, a fafige has to cook the food until her eyes are red from blowing into the fire.

Fai aku ai foi.

Ese le kou leaga I gai fafige hah

This is my dedication to all the women today,
Each one going through your own
Journey
Struggle
Fears
Failures
Successes
and your WTF days,
Here's to ya ...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Keep on Going


Keep on weaving that magic, that history that passion that love, keep on going





Keep on painting that siapo onto lau u'a that you alone had planted, nurtured, pounded, stretched, dried and meticulously decorated. Keep on Going.



 
  Keep on embracing your loved ones whenever you have the chance, keep on loving because you never know when they leave this world
 
 
 Keep on being a mother, but also a father to your children, keep on leading and excelling, in your chosen field.
Keep on focussing on the possibilities and not on the barriers
Keep on living, sharing, loving, and when they're old enough, they'll know that you have given them your all, Keep on loving
 Keep on loving other people's children like their own
 Keep on seeing the best in people and being there for others in need,
 
Keep on sharing your knowledge, empowering young people, wowing the children, reciting our histories, advocating for the vulnerable and being the incredible Queen that you are,
The woman who brought me into this world and continues to inspire me everyday. Mom, you are my original and forever #shero! Thank you for living your truth and for being the epitome of a strong passionate authentic loving mindful woman. I love you!
 

and from my end, I shall keep on procrastinating, now that it's almost midnight and my assignment is due soon, Keep on Going even when I keep digressing.


Monday, March 06, 2017

Advocacy

In the weekend, I decided to clean up my old files from my era of studying.
I read through some of the projects and I did some real self-reflection and realised how naïve I was as a student.
And hey,...still am. haha

I came across a project we did as a group project - where we had to take on an advocacy role in the Emissions Trading Scheme process.
We (4 of us) chose to be Greenpeace - but we decided to go a step further and actually meet with Greenpeace, infiltrate them (lol) and truly get in their brains to that we could position ourselves are advocates for Greenpeace on the issue.
Then I read through my emails I had sent to people and OMG I had no shame hahaha!
In any case, my naivety meant that actual Greenpeace people took time out to help me and then my team, explain the process, their stance, their past work, and ways to traction/change in actual campaigns. omg, it was amazing.
Anyhooo, when it came to the negotiation rounds, our group were relentless and super aggressive with the dairy industry - aka the fukkers who have hijacked the process (lol).
The funny part in this whole process was that - while it was a uni project, we had to conduct ourselves as if it was the actual negotiations. We, being the anti-angry panties in the process were definitely the odd ones in the room, and the group represent Government were actually irritated with our position (now isn't that a representation of reality? haha).
Anyhow, the negotiations went right into the evening and during one of the breaks, I went into the toilet and one of the dairy people came into the toilet asking if we could do a deal; ie, they'll make some compromises and consider regulation, but only after 2020 but still excluding the methane-farting cows from all this. in other words, it's hardly a compromise.
I stood there in that university toilet and asked her:
"Can I pee first before we continue this argument? and tell your farmers to go f%^& themselves".
She burst into tears and dashed out.
Yes, this was a uni project that was turning into real life fall outs and tension.
Then my team came into the toilet and told me off for being a bully - while I was still peeing.
I gathered my thoughts, walked out of the bathroom - and asked them:
"Can't you wait until I've washed my hands?"
I washed my hands and I told my poor group (of 4) off....basically, you're a bunch of %&*^^ for bending over backwards to the fukkers and to Government. Then, they, my own negotiating team stopped me and said, I needed to get over myself and meet the fukkers halfway, they're tired and they want to go home.
I folded under the pressure - and because my team were cowards - I can't stand cowards - I thought.
For the rest of the term, I didn't have many friends in that room.
I still got an A but it was a lonely A. choohooo.

Now, many years on, I'm wistfully re-read the tense exchange of emails and threats and side - deals that went on, and its made me realise,

I've lost that un-cultivated angry pantiness and the le kea dontfuggtome part of me.

And it absolutely frightens me.

It frightens me that I have become someone that complies, follow the rules, and choose silence instead of speaking up and advocating for others in need.

In a way, I've gained knowledge and some experience but have lost that  passionate conviction that knows no boundaries.

I've become -  Institutionalised.

Fuck that shit, I'm going to correct that right now.




Saturday, February 25, 2017

Emergency and Disaster Management Underwear thesis

This week, after a few years of having no academic studies whatsoever, I re-enrolled into a programme.

In Disaster and Emergency Management.

It took me several months to get my ish together and decide.

I had a discussion with the programme person and they mentioned that the course was mainly for practitioners already in EMD.
She asked whether I had experience or prior knowledge, as the content is quite intense.

With my very serious dontfuggtome face, I told her:

"Of course, I have extensive experience in disasters. I lived through cyclones, volunteered in the aftermath of a tsunami, I am involved in fundraising efforts after each disaster and more importantly, I am from a Samoan family. That makes me a resilient survivor of all kinds of disasters chooohooo"
jokes but really
She didn't laugh. Clearly my sick humour isn't going to be much use in class. aikae ia se,

What I didn't tell her was and is partially why I chose to do this is:

"I have extensive knowledge of the shitty content that arrive into the Pacific region and elsewhere after a disaster,  some of which include expired cans of fruit salad and beetfoot, broken furniture, long johns and ski boots".

This got me thinking about my actual real experiences of emergency and disasters.

Vi tree fall.
One of my early memories of an emergency is when a male from my village climbed a tree one Sunday afternoon and subsequently fell more than 10 meters to the rocky ground.
The only vehicle at the time of the accident, belonged to a school principal who was drunk at the bar down the road. So essentially, a drunk driver drove the fallen guy to the hospital, where there was no Doctor anyway.
The above incident was summarised well by the mother of the victim:
"Ua afu a lega le kou soli aso Sa. This all happened because you climbed a tree on the day of the Lord."
In other words, he deserved it. End of emergency. PS, he survived.

Ma'i maliu
Another recurring emergency that I have seen a lot - even recently, is a person having an epileptic attack. This happened a lot for one of my family members. But what is most concerning is the emergency response that follows: Ku'i le kua or the back of the head.
For some screwed up reason, people yell out to hit the back of the head or the back of the person.
As per the above example, I sometimes feel that with ever samoan emergency, another is bound to follow due to the response. Oi Malia e!

Cyclone
Carrying on from the above point, I remember the day our whole village took cover inside our church building, each family in among the long bright green church pews - the wind howled but we were safe inside. Dim kerosene lights inside and hushed conversations - otherwise, the action was all outside. Just as we were chilling under the seats, the wind simply ripped the roof off - rolling it away like a mat. My mom being the Red Cross guru was yelling at people to stay down and get under the seats  but there was just mad panic and screaming and people running outside of the church.
The injuries that day were from people who ran outside and got hit by debris. Thankfully, the majority stayed put or were held back at the exits until the wind eased.
The next part of this disaster led us all into the next building - smaller than the church but still large enough for everyone to lie down and wait out the storm.
There was a woman with a large gash across her head/forehead and  in the absence of a doctor or much medical equipment, we all watched as the wound was cleaned and then, wait for this, sewn together with a filo and bandaged. We had a trusty First Aid case that mom kept stocked, it came in handy.

After the cyclone, there were lots more injuries,  mainly cuts when people were cleaning up the mess. The villagers were treating our house like a blimmin hospital and limping over to be treated.
The best part was - my mom being away and my sisters and I actually doing the bandages  and wait for this, my younger sister - who was only what, 8 at the time, offering out panadols as a cure. choohooo. She lost her self-appointed medical licence when mom found out.

Laughs aside, I'm really looking forward to doing the programme -

I'm hoping that it gets me closer to addressing these issues:

  • What is the best response for a community in NZ to a disaster in their homeland?
  • How is disaster funds allocated? What percentage goes to 'administration' and is there a more efficient way?
  • How can we use our traditional knowledge of our environment and in responding to disasters?
  • The role of social media and disaster, how can we better utilise social media? And ethics in reporting sensitive issues or images? 
  • How can we ensure that donations/ goods are aligned with the needs of the affected people?
  • What is the true cost of a disaster?
  • How can we better respond to disasters?
  • Are we prepared at all,  do we have a plan with our loved ones about what to do?
  • Where to meet, who to call etc...oh yeah, do that now with your kids please.
  • Are you a disaster? lol
Ia, ua lava ga update pesto.

fa loa