Three generations in first ever family reunion
Three generations of the late Lanu Sulugafagalilo and Masinalupe Ieu Lesu Tupuai have gathered at Safatoa, Lefaga for their first ever family reunion.
Lanu and Masinalupe have a total of 11 children, comprising nine daughters: Tafaifa Ieu, Aiga Ieu, Aiga Sipili Ieu, Faaaloafo Ieu, Lavea Palasi Ieu, Lemalu Tuutasia Ieu, Lavea Katerina Ieu, Lavea Tautala Ieu and Lemalu Siona Ieu and two sons Tualoina Fotu Ieu and Fagalilo Ieu.
Aiga Ieu and Fagalilo Ieu have passed on, leaving nine of them. Only Lemalu Tuutasia and Lavea Tautala still reside in Samoa while the rest of their siblings live off Island.
The three-day reunion started December 27 and ended yesterday. As a whole family they stayed at Safata, Lefaga where their father Masinalupe is from.
On the first day they worked together to refurbish and clear out their parents’ burial ground.
“It was just like the old days but even better seeing our kids here. This is different from the life they are used to off island and it makes us all very happy to see them getting their hands dirty,” Aiga Sipili Ieu said.
The second day was service given back to the community and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints church ward in Lefaga.
Aiga explained their parents were strong members of the church and served there for years until their passing.
“This was our first ward after our parents were married. We have been away for so long and we wanted our ward to know that they hold a dear place in our hearts,” she said.
In showing their appreciation, they hosted a party on Friday inviting the church members and the community.
The final day of their reunion yesterday was spent at the beach. Before they went their separate ways to visit extended relatives before heading home, they concluded their reunion with a Sunday dinner.
Aiga explained that for years she had wanted to have a family reunion, but being far from her other siblings, work and other priorities made it difficult.
Nevertheless, she persisted and together with her seven siblings off island they successfully pulled it off.
“Family is important. Sure there are other things we prioritize that takes up our time, energy and attention — but when it comes down to what really matters — it is family,” Aiaga said.
The whole purpose of bringing the family to Samoa was for them to witness the life they once lived, and realize how blessed the family is, she further explained.
“Our parents have gone through so much for our family in hopes for a better future. Now that we have been so blessed we wish they were here today so we could repay them back,” Aiga added.
She hopes to have another reunion in three years time but in Australia. And while most of them no longer live in Samoa, Aiga said Samoa will always be home.