Family reunions keep cultural identity strong

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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LOVING SAMOA: Mel and Romeo having a coffee break outside BNHQ.

LOVING SAMOA: Mel and Romeo having a coffee break outside BNHQ.

It’s midafternoon and the energy levels are flailing somewhat reminding us that it’s that time of the day again to hit the café for a latte. 

Mel from Sydney was thinking the exact same thing when Dear Tourist met her outside Bean Headquarters at the Plaza with her flat white in hand. 

We find out that Mel and her family are from Australia but that they were to celebrate a family reunion on her Samoan husbands side of the family.

This is Mel’s second time here to Samoa and she was ecstatic to be back after enjoying her first time here in Samoa earlier this year in April 

“The first time I came to Samoa was in April – and oh my gosh, I loved it- it was amazing. I loved the weather, Australia is hot but its nothing like this, it’s bearable. I love it and you just deal with it. You’ve got coffee, water and coconuts”

Learning about culture and language is important for Mel and having part Samoan children, she realized that it was something that was missing in her children’s life back in Australia. 

“Everyone is so friendly compared to Australia. “ she said,  “I had a bit of culture shock when we first got here but we had some idea of what to expect because of our relationship with his mum and aunty but it’s been nice to bring over the kids for the first time and they loved it. They are learning the language and the culture – it’s a bit of a change for them but it’s good because I want them to have the change.”

“For my kids the culture shock was more in seeing that in comparison the kids living here in the villages. Back home my kids live the life of privilege and to be honest I would rather live the simple way of life like here than the one we live in back home. And so I definitely think my kids need to experience this and be able to respect and look after everyone and be kind. Yeah I think I like it here better because its just so much more relaxed.”

Mel and her family are looking forward to the festivities planned for the family reunion 

“We just got here yesterday so we have a fiafia night planned right away with the family, we are going to go out to all the beaches, looking forward to Lalomanu and also the sliding rocks. And we are also going to do some cultural things as well.”

It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Mel would be back to visit our friendly isles again and maybe in the distant future she might convince her family to stay a little longer than just for the school holidays.

“Oh I want to live here,” she laughs. “I’m just trying to convince my children. I mean it’s just the way of life here. In Australia, it’s just not living and no one is looking after each other. 

“We put up fences around ourselves in Australia, here is very family orientated but back home, you don’t even know your neighbours names so its really important for me that we embrace culture and family. Beautiful people and beautiful Samoa, I just love it.”

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