Vaimoso Mayor lights up village
For ten years, the Matai'a family have made a special effort to decorate their father's grave in front of their Vaimoso home every festive season. But this year, they are going all out to provide cheer during the epidemic.
The measles epidemic is still sweeping Samoa and has claimed 73 lives so far. Vaimoso's Mayor, Faleafa Matai'a, says the decorations are designed to bring a sparkle to the eyes of passing children and generally raise the Christmas spirit.
The display lights up the Vaimoso strip from Pesega and into town.
Faleafa told the Samoa Observer that although the Christmas lights' installations are yet to be completed, it has already brought his family so much joy to see children pass by and be heard to exclaim: "Look, Christmas lights!"
Faleafa said: "We do this every year nearing Christmas, it used to be just the old man's grave that we decorated with some extras each year and this year we have this whole set-up.
"[It is] all for the spirit of Christmas, especially during these times of the epidemic, the Christmas spirit this year has been low, even for the children.
"And now every night when kids pass by in the front you hear them talk about the lights excitedly, while some pull over and come to see the lights up close and take some shots with it."
The Christmas decorations have cost Faleafa's siblings and their mother around $2500, which is in fact a discounted price: they get their lights from a relative at Pat Ah Him's store.
"The more lights the more expensive [the bill but] it's not the expenses that we look at, because this is our mother's and our offering every year for the good name for our village," he said.
"Maybe Saturday or Sunday, you will see a change in the decorations, there will be additions to the lights as we are still finishing up, where we will be putting up Christmas trees near the road.
"And it doesn't cost us much cash power to turn on the lights, because we turn it off at 12 a.m. at night because no children will be around anymore at that time."
But for the week leading up to Christmas day, the public can be assured that the Matai'as will be lighting upVaimoso with the Christmas each and every night.