Palolo, a Samoan (worm) delicacy [video]

Some cultures eat frog legs and snails. Others eat crickets and roaches. Samoans eat worms from the ocean. And they’re yum! When I was very young in Hawaii, the stories about palolo were like fairy-tales to me: They only come out once a year, under a waning moon The villagers wade out into the night…

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

Samoans and Bingo

Because someone beat me to the punch of “Checkers” lol, I moved on to Bingo. What a game. I actually have no idea to play the darn thing. lol Even when I yelled out “BINGO” because obviously I had bingo’d, thanks to Aunty Fuala’au who marked my paper along with her eight. Can we say…

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

Lo’u atunu’u Samoa / My beloved home, Samoa

Even typing this is gut-wrenching. When the news hit here in Niu Sila / New Zealand, I feared for the worst, and hoped the best. The early reports were few and far between, keeping my hopes alive. Early in the morning a work colleague, who had just come back from a holiday in Samoa a week earlier, came into my office and casually joked about the tsunami hitting a few huts, might kill some chickens and a few roaming pigs. I know she meant it jest-fully, and I think I smiled and went along with it, because I was still hoping she was right, that it was just a few things.

But fear began to grow, a large lump in my throat, my stomach turned, as news throughout the day progressed and the magnitude of the disaster only just became apparent. All the news was about the Samoan Tsunami. My work colleague came in later that day and expressed her sadness and asked if my family was affected. As did many other work colleagues. I lied to them all, and said my family in Samoa is safe. But only minutes earlier, my mother had rung to say my cousins who had left for school in Samoa were still missing. Why did I lie? Because sometimes it’s easier to deal with a situation without worrying others. Despite feeling a deep hole in my soul, of worry and hurt, the need to lie also helped me cope with the unknown. Lying was also a form of keeping as much of normality intact despite your world crumbling around you.

Throughout the week I would stare outside my office window, high up in this glass tower, in this concrete jungle, looking into the distance of the beautiful Waitemata Harbour, beyond the mighty Rangitoto island and into the horizon towards the great Pacific ocean, towards Samoa.

It was an emotional rollercoaster every time I answered a call from family for updates, or clicked the refresh button on news websites. My heart was torn, ripped apart, and pulled in all directions.

…from NiuZila