Holiday in remembrance of lives lost

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With the Government declaring tomorrow November 7 a public holiday, to mark 100 years since the infectious pneumonic influenza came to our shores and wiped out 22 per cent of Samoa’s population, reporter Yolanda Lavata’i talks to members of the public to get their views on the issue and the Government’s plans to commemorate the day at Vaimoso.

 

Faasisili Sooula, 58

Faasisili Sooula, Papaloloa, 58

“I did not know there was a new public holiday. I am not sure if I even have any relatives who had passed during that time but I think it is lovely that the Government had made a public holiday in remembrance of those who lost their lives because of the disease. “

 

Ricky Masami, 23

Ricky Masami, Sapapalii, 23

“If the Government decided to do something for the benefit of the people, then I don’t have anything against it. In this case the Government has decided to make a holiday for 100 years since the influenza epidemic killed so many lives and it’s great. We are very fortunate and blessed to be here today with modern medicine that has prevented a lot of deaths.”

 

Vaifaleloleta Faapaia, 59

Vaifaleloleta Faapaia, Leauvaa, 59

“I am grateful and happy to know that know that the Government has taken into account remembering families and loved ones who have passed away to the illness. It has been a very long time since that incident but it wonderful to know that people live and still remember.“

Ricky Masami, 23
Ricky Masami, 23
Vaifaleloleta Faapaia, 59
Vaifaleloleta Faapaia, 59
Theresa Iosia, 33
Theresa Iosia, 33
Letiana Likisone, 46
Letiana Likisone, 46
Simi Johnson, 75
Simi Johnson, 75

 

Faasisili Sooula, 58

Theresa Iosia, Vaitele, 33

“I am very happy to know that the Government has taken the initiative to remember that fateful year. Those times were very different compared to modern days and we have been very fortunate not to have lived during those times. Although it is in the past, it is still a wonderful reminder how blessed we are today and to not take the opportunities we have for granted.”

 

Letiana Likisone, 46

Letiana Likisone, Vaimoso, 46

“Wednesday is known to be the day in remembrance. I am from Vaimoso and we are hosting the memorial event because the majority of the lives lost were buried there. Our village has worked together to make necessary arrangements for the day, like clearing out the cemetery and preparing Mau uniforms for our villager. A lot of the things I know about the disease was from my grandmother who was present when this happened. My grandmother had lost her mother to the influenza, and she had recalled so many others as well. Everyday my grandmother said a truck would come around the villages to pick up the bodies and bury them in our village. It was a time of great grief and I know if she were here today, she’d be very grateful for the subtle but meaningful day remembering that incident.”


Simi Johnson, 75

Simi Johnson, Aleisa, 75

“I have lost my grandmother, my father’s mother to the disease which I am grateful for the head of Government and officials for remembering them, even after those people have been long gone. I pray and hope something like that never happens to Samoa again.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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