School cultural day celebrates Samoan culture

Ah Mu Academy school celebrated its cultural day on Thursday with students performing traditional Samoan dances, preparing local dishes and promoting traditional weaving skills.

Leota Puia’i Fonofili of Fogapoa Savaii, who teaches science in the school, said the cultural day has always been celebrated and is on the school’s annual calendar.

This year the school celebrated Samoan culture with their activities revolving around the theme “value your culture”, with cultures from other parts of the world observed over the years.

Ah Mu has students from a diverse background, Leota said, in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“Our school has a diverse background of children so we need something to give back to the community, our international students especially when they go back to their country,” she said.

The school has students from various nationalities including Afghanistan, Mexico, Tonga, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, India, Pakistan, China and Japan. 

Leota said she hoped the school’s celebration of the Samoan culture made their international students feel at home and treated to Samoan hospitality.

“Plus while they’re here, they will know of the humanity and feel the hospitalized treatment from us Samoans as we celebrate their home country.”

Other items that the students participated in included handicraft weaving, the building of a Samoan fale and traditional sports. 

Climate change and its impact on the community was also noted during the school celebration with the Government’s ban on single-use plastic highlighted. 

“The whole purpose of today is to try to avoid the use of all of these modernized man-made inventions,” Leota added.

The students’ weaving of the mai’lo (coconut leaf food basket) and polavai (coconut leaf blinds) was deliberately done during the celebration to get the students to acquaint themselves with these traditional skills. 

Leota said the Samoan language and social studies are subjects that are compulsory for students at Ah Mu Academy. 

While english is used at Ah Mu Academy, the Samoan language is also taught to all the students. 

An international student who attends Ah Mu Academy, nine-year-old Jannat Ul Munatha from Pakistan, said she loves Samoan culture and has learnt more about it during the cultural day.

“Samoan people are too lovely as they always say hi whenever I go somewhere,” she said, and added that she also loves Samoan food. 

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