More than twenty international students from the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.) will be joining the parade for the 54th year of Samoa’s Independence Day celebration.
Students from East Timor, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, who are currently taking their Post Graduate Degree in Development Studies and a student from Germany taking a Bachelors Degree at N.U.S. will be marching not only for Samoa’s Independence Day but also to give tribute to their own countries’ independence day, which they will miss due to their being here in Samoa.
East Timor just recently restored its independence on the 20th of May 2002. Jamaica had it’s independence from the United Kingdom, on the 6th of August 1962.
Trinidad and Tobago had its independence from the British Empire as well, on the 31st of August 1962, the same year Samoa got its independence too. Guyana, on the other hand, just celebrated its independence anniversary few days ago, on the 26th of May. It was also under the United Kingdom and got its independence in 1966.
Post Graduate student from East Timor, Joao Maia said, “The celebration of Independence Day in East Timor is almost the same way as many other countries.”
“Back home, our President will be joined by the military troops and flags will be raised. Then the military will pay tribute to the soldiers and freedom fighters of the country.”
“The festivities will continue until the afternoon and ends with the lowering of the National Flag of East Timor.”
“It is especially during this time that we really appreciate being independent, free from oppression, being able to stand on your own feet and think of the many lost lives instrumental to this independence we enjoy now.”
Mr. Maia added that since East Timor’s restored independence, the country has been promoting education as one way to economic development and he is happy to be here in Samoa, a free nation, to gain such education.
On the other side of the globe, Jamaicans celebrate their independence day with the same festivities.
The same with Samoans, there is also a parade where hundreds of participants, dressed in costumes representing the various aspects of their cultural heritage. The event is full of color, dancing, music and food. The day is filled with sense of unity and pride amongst the people.
Ms. Iliganoa Ranee Matuu, International Coordinator of NUS said: “The international students are so excited to join the march during the Independence Day Celebration. It’s a novelty for them and a privilege to join the country in its most special occasion.”
“They will be carrying the banner of N.U.S. and share the same joy that people of free nations also feel.”
Ms. Matuu said that other students from the region are also joining the parade.
“Our students from the region, who are taking Medicine, will be joining the march as well. These students are from Cook Island, Tonga, Fiji and Tuvalu.”
The Vice Chancellor and President of N.U.S.Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua Asofou So’o is happy to note that international students are taking this initiative to take part in the annual celebration of Samoa’s Independence Day.
This is part of their assimilation to the Samoan culture and they are enjoying it. It is crucial to their studying environment.
N.U.S. Academic and Support staff, as a practice, will also join the parade, together with the international, regional and local students.
Joao Maia wanted to express his excitement with his words:
“Happy Independence day to the people of Samoa!
Let's salute the Martyrs, for the sacrifices they made.
Thank them for giving us this day to celebrate.
Freedom in the MIND
Faith in the WORDS
Pride in our HEARTS
Memories in our SOULS.
Let's Salute the Nation on the 54th Independence Day.
Viva o Povo de Samoa !!!”