A young teenager from Savaii has turned to the traditional skills of weaving to ensure an income and her future.
“My heart illness doesn’t stop me,” says 13 year old Siniva Natia from Fogasavai’i, Savai’i.
As the youngest weaver in yesterday’s annual exhibition of ‘Ie Samoa’ at the E.F.K.S. Hall, in Sogi, Siniva left school at the beginning of last year.
She had been diagnosed with a severe heart disease which almost took her life.
“It’s not like, I’m not going back to school anymore, but I need to stay home until I feel better,” she said.
“This is not the first time I have stayed home because of my heart problem, but it was while I was at home, that’s where it’s all started - my love of weaving.
“From when I was young, growing up in my family where I’m the youngest of my three siblings, I have always watched my mum weaving.
“I love learning new things and I wanted to know how to weave, just to occupy my time because I spend a lot of time at home because of my illness.
“What kept me focussed was from when I woke up every morning and till I went to bed at night, my mother was always there weaving; I mean that’s how she occupied her time.
‘The one thing on my mind was that I wanted to give it a try.
“I asked her, but she always refused to teach me because she was very concerned about my sickness.
“That was when I was ten years old.
“But, I kept on asking and asking, so for the first time (last year), she started to show me how she weaves; how she uses her fingers in stripping and all the other skills.”
It was when her mother went to sleep that Siniva would look for the ie and practice what she had seen. “Then one day last year, my mum told me to come and sit with her, and then she started to really show me how to weave.
“I was very excited. And that’s when it’s all started...
Siniva started by weaving thirteen lengths of Tosi Tasi last year.
“To be honest, weaving keeps me going.” Siniva.
“It’s a good way to take my mind away (from being sick) rather than thinking that I am sick...I am sick.
“So, this ie took me one year to weave, with the help of my mother.
“It gives me hope every day when I look at it and know that I finished it...my mother told me it’s a good way to earn money.
“Well, I don’t know much but I only want to help my parents out, I know the money that I am going to get from this will help us a lot.
“Because Mothers Day is this coming Sunday, I’ve already told my mother that if someone buys this ie, I want her to buy iron roofing for our house.
And as for her future?
“I want to continue on weaving so that I can afford to build a nice house for my parents and my siblings...and live with my family happily together.”