Vaiala Beach School
Far off into the South Pacific Ocean, deep below where strange sea animals are found and the sky above is always blue, there lie islands that create a place that I am proud to call home. I am proud to call it my world because it’s all I know. With each passing day, the tropical sun would skip across the sky while the clouds would sway playfully back and forth. The moon and stars would begin to fade off into the far distance at night, as the young morning yawns to welcome the sunrise. The island that starts new days with new beginnings is the place where I am raised to the typical, bubbly Samoan adolescent I am today. The islands of my fatu, my heart….. Samoa.
Samoa is surrounded by majestic trees that bear the plumpest fruits like oranges, pawpaw, vi, pineapples, coconuts and my most favourite, mangoes. Some trees like the Pulu have lived for many years. Imagine the stories they hold in their barks. Samoa has magnificent mountains that carry various types of breath-taking vegetation, not the kind that parents force their kids to eat every day, but rainforest….the great kogavao where legends are born. We have sandy beaches, sapphire blue oceans and crystal clear waterfalls that are filled with colourful fish and exotic, scary and not so scary creatures. One of the flowers that is very noticeable is the Teuila - a striking crimson red beauty which represents the Samoan bloodline. Other flowers are a delicate pink, sunny yellow or lovely orange that symbolizes gentleness and kindness that the island shares with all people and wildlife. My world is also better than a supermarket, filled with natural fruits, vegetables, water and many other resources for living in Samoa.
Samoans are one of the most generous people you will ever meet in your entire life. We are different from the rest of the world because I believe we are brought up in an environment that cherishes God and believes that nothing is impossible with Him. Everything is done with God in our lives.
Samoans love to wear bright and bold colours representing who we are. We love to stand out. Like our clothes, we show just as much colours in our food.
One of the things that I love as a Samoan is my food. Coconut cream is a girl’s best friend, okay maybe not on the hips. Heavenly faiai elegi and palusami are my all-time favourites. Island salads, sua moa Samoa, crispy puaa, faiai fish, octopus and delicious crab is bon appetite to every Samoan taste bud. Our healthy appetite is as enormous as our curvy bodies and big toes.
In the Samoan culture, respect is a very important factor in my world. We respect our elders, teachers, parents and our older siblings (Arghh!). We always feed our elders first to show our appreciation because they took care of us when we were young. I mean wouldn’t you if your parents wiped your very bottom you are sitting on and chewed your food so you could easily digest it and not choke as a baby? They cleaned our legs when they got infected from the gamu, fixed our hair infested with unwanted pets and attack every parasite that would dare come to shame us. We have dried up scars to remind us how our elders are legendary warriors that battled to cure and protect us from many infections.
Discipline is another part of our culture and has its very own muscle man, “The Salu.” The salu is disguised as a broom by nature to clean the house, but its true calling is a belt to whip our bums when we kids are mischievous. You have been warned.
In our culture we also have the ‘Siva Samoa’ where women dance gracefully like a dancing dove above the skies, while men act totally the complete opposite. We have patterns we use from history and nature - like leaves and animal print. Samoans like to have these patterns put on their bodies, puletasi, shirts or ie lavalavas to show the world we have inherited the skill of art and designs from the heavens which is a natural born talent given to us by our Heavenly Father God.
This is my island, my world, my Samoa. This is my life, my childhood. It is all I know and can think of.
My Samoa is a fairy-tale island where every person deserves a happy ending. What a remarkable place and to its people, irreplaceable.
I have seen the wonders Samoa can do to its family, the people and the visitors from overseas.
It will forever have a growing flame of passion in my heart for my home. Samoa…..The World I Know.