The Samoan Visiting Gift Etiquette Pt. 1

Visiting family is always a great thing – catching up on the stories, updates on family members, sharing food and sometimes sharing tears, all in the name of ‘being together’ is no doubt one of life’s simple pleasures (if you are close to your family lol)

And then there leaves the question of etiquette. Sure, most families would have some type of give and take, the token of love can be in a simple plate of food, a nice chocolate cake and even just a bucket of KFC! But what is the procedure and requirements when you visit a family in Samoa? What amount of gifts or monetary ‘mea alofa’ is required?

…from Screaming Tree

The Security Lights of Samoa

Every house on my street in Vaitele, has at least 2 dogs – bigger houses have at most 5 or 6 dogs and not the cute fluffy type of dogs – but the vicious bite-your-head-off-because-I’m-hungry type of dogs.

I’ve been lucky not to have been bitten yet by a dog – safe to say that even if you go for a walk around Vaitele – YOU NEED to walk with a stick to fend off any stray dogs that may come out of nowhere – early morning exercises is the typical time of dog attacks and the fact that the stray dogs tend to have lice and sometimes rabies – it is most probably the scariest thing besides the Samoan Police.

…from Screaming Tree

Put your hand in mine

When your in love with someone, you do all your lovey dovey cutesy couple things, wierd – for some reasons Samoans here in Samoa just don’t do that.

Its Taboo.

Kids walk to school with thier friends and hold hands, girls can hold another girls hand, a boy can hold another boys hand – but a girl and boy holding hands is kaukalaikiki (considered cheeky) LOL

So unless we are either pro-gay and lesbian, it is instilled in our culture that holding hands with your girlfriend or boyfriend is just something ‘you do not do’ (even if your married!)

…from Screaming Tree

The Art of Mu

The nimble fingers dance across the board with hands showing wear and tear of a hardworking life, a dedication to working the family plantation, building the family home, the hand of a bible holding childhood, disciplinary cuts of a hand upon a child – once strong and useful to the Aiga these hands are reduced to the competition of a quick thinking mind and the reasoning of veteran conscience that dictates the outcome of this simple game.

To the naked eye of an outsider, the old men playing Mu is an equivalent of a bunch of alcoholics, but if you look deeper it is more than just a game that these souls play to fade away the lazy hot Samoan afternoon, but a last element of competition to show superiority and being a man in this culture of hierarchy and duty bound soldiers of a village, family, country.

…from Screaming Tree

Put your hand in mine

When your in love with someone, you do all your lovey dovey cutesy couple things, wierd – for some reasons Samoans here in Samoa just don’t do that.

Its Taboo.

Kids walk to school with thier friends and hold hands, girls can hold another girls hand, a boy can hold another boys hand – but a girl and boy holding hands is kaukalaikiki (considered cheeky) LOL

So unless we are either pro-gay and lesbian, it is instilled in our culture that holding hands with your girlfriend or boyfriend is just something ‘you do not do’ (even if your married!)

…from Screaming Tree

Elevator Buttons

In Apia, there are approximately 6-7 elevators. Yesterday, I was thrown back into reality of how a simple thing as operating an elevator is still a foreign experience for our own people, an elderly lady entered the parking entrance of the Government building in Apia and was going to level 1, Eira and I had to get off at ground level (our inability to walk up 1 flight of stairs…is something else) but as we stepped off the elevator this lady became very scared and started to shake visibly, Eira held onto the door from closing and the lady asked with a tear in her eye how she was supposed to get to level 1…

…from Screaming Tree

Thursday Mini-Earthquakes

Staff Meeting on Thursday Morning, full of tears.

Samoa is such a small country, that everyone was affected, whether it be an uncle, and aunty, a brother, sister, there was a connection to Aleipata and Manono.

The death toll at this stage is 110.

The team meeting was interupted when the Gov. building started to shake, only for about 5 seconds – the fear of a second Tsunami was still in the air. And our boss did not want to risk it.

The Building was evacuated.

And Gov. Departments (workers who weren’t already out in the field) were told to stay away from the Building.

S.T.A, moved office to the Information Fale on Beach Road.

We had to start locating our Tourists.

Everybody had a task to do – Calling Accomodation Vendors for Donations to be sent to Aleipata, Collecting Arrival Information and contacting Hotels, A Team was sent to the Airport to assist with Tourists being evacuated, our NBC was continuing the clean up, our Information officers were providing help to Tourists still in the country, relocating and booking Tourists into different accomodations, Visiting the Hospital for Injured and Displaced – it was everywhere.. but everyone knew what they had to do.

We finished work at 2am in the morning, some workers falling asleep at desks.

And we still hadn’t even started.

…from screamingtree

Samoa Tsunami Emergency: How You Can Help

How you can help:

NEW ZEALAND

Pacific Cooperation Foundation
Deposits can be made at at any Westpac branch. All the money raised will go to the Samoan Government

Red Cross
Make a secure online donation at www.redcross.org.nz
– Send cheques to the

Samoan Red Cross Fund, PO Box 12140, Thorndon, Wellington 6144

– Call 0900 31 100 to make an automatic $20 donation
– Make a donation at any NZ Red Cross office

ANZ Bank
Make a donation at any ANZ bank branch, or donate directly to the ANZ appeal account: 01 1839 0143546 00

AUSTRALIA

AUSTRALIAN GOV AGENCY
– DEFAT TSUNAMI INFORMATION
– 1300 555 135

AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS
– Website: www.redcross.org.au
– Phone: 1800 811700

The Australian Red Cross has said that they are able to accept donations for the specific appeal as well as offers of other support – food / clothing / etc.

29/09/2009 – Samoan Earthquake, felt in Vaitele

Tuesday 29th September 2009.

If the Appearance of Maria/St Theresa and the Burning of the Kitano was any indication of something about to happen..not to mention the Road Switch – we had thought that the ‘bad things come in three’ was over.

Until the morning.. I fell out of bed. (and I was not wasted)

7 am-ish (because my clock is always wrong I’m not sure what the real time was)

– First Earthquake – I fell out of bed, walked outside of the house where my Grandma and my cousin were standing. I went back to bed. (seriously, minor earthquakes happen every couple of months) and I was tired. I just finished watching the last disc of Gossip Girl’s Season 2. I was kinda pissed off that Chuck took ages to finally tell Blair that he loves her. (We don’t get GG on T.V and I’ve had the Dvd’s for awhile) Now, I will never forget it…

…from Screamingtree

Teuila 2009 – the aftermath

* Working with Gwendolyn Tuaitanu (Miss Samoa 09) in the final weeks of her reign as Miss Samoa and feeling more than sad that I would be saying goodbye to my first Miss Samoa (everyone at S.T.A has had a favourite depending on the year that they started working here)

* Being part of the Mc Donald’s Variety Show Organising committee and screening the crazy talents of the Samoan people – highlights would have been – Michael Jackson Impersonator, Tufulele Methodist Youth (thier faataupati was so good, we suggested them for the Miss Samoa Pageant), Six8Five (our only international act from NZ lol – Google them!), Coral Reef Academy (GO GIVENS!!!) & Lupesiliva (the crowd favourites and for Samoan Hip Hop, they were ok) but then again, I’m not a dancer – so I wouldn’t know.

…from Screaming Tree, Adventures in Samoa