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…
On the way to work the other morning, I listened to a bunch of The Edge FM djs broadcast from poolside, Aggie Greys, over in Samoa. The typically irreverent crew eschewed any sightseeing for lazing about in the sun, bragged about how much they’d had (and were planning) to drink, and conducted interviews with local hotel staff that bordered on lewd – “With a name like Ru-ta, you’d be a popular girl in NZ!” and so forth. And then the girl dj recorded this pitiful, painful to the ears, rendition of some pop song celebrating her time in Samoa.
At first I winced at the audacity. That’s MY Samoa you all are enjoying way too much over there! But then I realized, wait… less than two months after this year’s devastating tsunami took too many lives and destroyed some of our most treasured resorts, people are enjoying Samoa again.
Whoever it was that came up with the plan to send a bunch of boisterous Kiwi djs over to prove that Samoa, as a tourism industry, is definitely open for business again… you did good!
You’re probably also responsible for this heartwarming gem:
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. [FULL STORY]
At 8.55am (NZ time) today, we received report that a tsunami hit Samoa.
At 9.05am, we heard that a 1.57m Tsunami wave hit Pago Pago American Samoa, heading 100m inland.
At 9.13am, deaths were reported. News came in that Fagaloa and Lalomanu were hit bad.
At 9.24am, we found out that pretty much the whole of Apia had been evacuated to higher ground.
We opened up a discussion in the village for natives to post reports from loved ones in Samoa, and to keep everyone updated about official news, mostly from the radio.
I’ll be compiling the information we received there into categorized posts here, so you can more easily find the information you’re looking for.
God Bless Samoa.
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…
One can only be concerned with Samoa’s agenda in its attempts to close ranks against Fiji, by alienating its closest Pacific neighbors. That is what is happening here. Tuilaepa is merely driving a wedge between him and anyone who isn’t being influenced by New Zealand and Australia.
In his attempts to be a stronger independent country voice, the only thing the Prime Minister is doing is drawing attention to the fact that he does not know where exactly he wants to be. One minute he’s driving on the Left hand side and the next minute he’s on the Right…
Samoa’s history is peppered with skirmishes over land and even a civil war or two. It was customary back then for those who were defeated in battle to retreat into the mountains.
This is why, after the tragic events of Samoa’s Black Saturday, the men of the Mau scattered to find refuge in villages far away from Upolu’s troubled coastline.
The women, however, didn’t….