I remember that morning like it was yesterday. I was woken in the early hours and told to hop online – something big was happening in the Samoan world.
I didn’t realize until I saw the quick and frantic messages in the One Samoana forums that the news wasn’t good.
A powerful earthquake. A tsunami. Both Samoas. Tonga too. People died. Villages wiped out. Death toll rising.
Samoans from around the world were online with us, desperately seeking news: Was my village hit? Do you know my family over there? Have you heard anything from them?
We also posted updates: I got a text from my cousin. He said your family is safe – they all got to higher ground. We talked with my uncle. Our village is fine. We’re not sure about kua though.
And we shared our devastation: Cuz, auntie didn’t make it. Lord help us. My dad is still missing. Please pray for my family. A hundred and twenty now, and counting. The whole of Lalomanu… Dear God.
In the days, months, even years that followed we witnessed our worldwide community in action. We flew to Samoa to help with relief efforts… and to recover the bodies of those who perished. We raised money. We flew family out of Samoa. We united with other Samoans through our grief, our shared stories about those we had lost…we cried together and memorialised them…
Until finally we were able to smile again.
Three years on, we continue to heal.
God Bless Samoa.
This post first appeared in the ville.