A visit for love and culture

By Elizabeth Ah-Hi ,

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Culture Crew and Pacific Heart at a school in Pesega where they gave out school packs to children.

Culture Crew and Pacific Heart at a school in Pesega where they gave out school packs to children.

Soul Reggae group, The Culture Crew, and non profit organization, Pacific Heart arrived in Samoa on schedule last Friday just as Cyclone Gita was about to make her solo debut wreaking havoc around the township of Apia.

As a result the Soul Reggae band’s plans altered slightly as they shifted gears and added cyclone cleanup to their travel itinerary. 

On Monday they found themselves chipping in with some extra hands to help a family in Pesega.

“We ended up cleaning up a house by the Mormon temple in Pesega, it was a family friend. It was a random thing that happened but it set the tone for everything else to come,” said band member Sam Schultz. 

“It was ironic that we came to do a water project and then all of a sudden the cyclone hits and the island is in disarray.”

While their management team in Samoa and hotel staff at Taumeasina Island Resort warned band members to stay indoors. 

The group heeded their advice and as soon as the green light was given, continued with their adjusted schedule to visits to schools and villages. 

“We’re here and kind of stuck in this nice resort and they’re telling us not to go because there’s flooding and we are just itching to get out there and help out and get dirty.”

“We went to the Mormon school in Pesega and then we went to a school that is focused on disabilities and then we to the House of Hope. It was an awesome and beautiful experience.” 

“We were able to speak and generally we sang 3-4 songs for them and the school kids were able to sing to us which was beautiful.”

“We also went and visited a village and did a clean water display and gave out 50 clean water filters there,” said Sam. 

“The kids were just elated and sang a lot they had such a good time. We spoke with several matais who spoke to us about what we were doing and telling us that we should do this more often.”

While Mr. Schultz admitted that they wished they could do more to help out in the short span of time they are in Samoa, the group was looking forward to providing a different kind of relief, one where the locals could take time out to enjoy some good vibes and take stock of the good things in life. 

Culture Crew along with some local bands had organised a free concert in front of the government building and according to Sam it was no coincidence that they had planned the event for Valentines Day,

“We chose Valentines specifically, made it free and during the week. It’s an event not just for lovers but for everyone and families. Especially right now, it’s good for people to take a break from cleaning their homes; they’ve been spending the whole week trying to recover.”

“Such a  resilient culture here and for us as Culture Crew we just want to allow them to take a deep breath and come and remember why they’re alive and bring some positivity and happiness and listen to some good music.”

Mr. Schultz told the Samoa Observer that their culture fest concert yesterday was dedicated to Samoan singer Ben Vai who recently passed away this week from cancer. 

“He was a good friend of Big Pati and Tenelle from the crew, who have shared the stage with him quite a few times and so us as Culture crew we want to come out as a family and embrace each other. It’s a day that’s represented as love.”

The two groups were scheduled to head to Savaii today but because of the issues arising from the cyclone they are unable to go, instead they have committed to perform for another two events with the Samoa Tourism Authority wine and food festival and a special performance this Saturday at the Taumeasina Island resort. Culture Crew will then continue their tour to American Samoa after the weekend.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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