Thank you for your editorial titled on Tuesday under the headline “A landmark is destroyed.” The correct name of the market from its inception is Maketi Fou i Savalalo. Childhood memories of the exotic and colourful maketi fou are still vivid. As youngsters, a brother and I would walk from a village not far from the market bare footed and with no care in the world how we looked, would make numerous treks to the marketi fou in Savalalo.
All we ever wanted to see was to be where the hustle and bustle of activities were taking place. To get away from the strict regimented life in the village.
At the Savalalo market we witnessed people sitting on the ground selling their farm produce, yelling, arms waving, pushing, eyes fluttering, fanning, jumping over others to take your cash for goods bought.
Lucky for us we did not have any money, and the vendors would tell from a mile not to hassle or barter with us. The distressing part of the excursion for me was going to the toilet. Located at the rear of the market, I always seemed to have great difficulties finding the toilet and navigating the slippery floor.
The intense smell of fresh produce from the farm, is circulated via the heat emanated from the road tar and the market concrete surface,
combined with the sweat and the humid air that lingers without relief.
The market is always filled with the smell of food distinctive to Samoans taste palate; cooked taro, palusami, fai’ai fee, fai’ai pusi, bottled seafood delicacies. The infused smell of the boiled Samoan coco, coffee and the colourful variety of cooked pancakes, filled the nostrils and the stomach without eating any of the foods.
I have moved overseas, and returned for the past two years staying at the Tanoa Tusitala with the family. The first story I told my two children was the story about my life as a child in the village loafing around the maketi fou. The children have since made a point of spending time at the flea market as it is now known buying clothes and souvenirs to gift their friends and family members.
The family and I are shocked, sad and sorry to hear about the flea market been totally destroyed by fire, and for the people whose livelihood depend on it.
I hope the Government of Samoa will find an alternative venue to sell your products.
Maketi fou i Savalalo you made me who I am today. Tolerating everything life throws at me.