Goshen's tenth anniversary a creativity display

Love. The Holy Bible. Foreverness. The flag of Samoa and its five stars. Bilingual Christmas greetings. And red and white peppermint candies.

Those are just some of the themes inspiring artworks visitors saw when the creative talents of the men and women who call Goshen Mental Health Trust Facility home were on display as it celebrated its 10th anniversary on Thursday.

The themes came to life when rocks of different sizes were placed in the hands of the Goshen residents who are known at the facility as ‘consumers.’

“Another girl leads the rock art but the way I think is, I give them the rocks and I want them, well we tell them to paint what is in their minds,” art instructor Epenesa Fao told the Samoa Observer.

“It helps them to exercise and develop their thinking skills. Those are their ideas. That is what is in their minds.”

Tanoa, flowers, penguins, an eagle and other animals, palm trees, mistletoe, Christmas stockings, a snowman, snowflakes and Santa Claus also grace the rock art of the Goshen consumers.

A Goshen founder, former Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and his Masiofo Filifilia were among the invited guests who perused the creative arts display of rock art, hand painted elei, woven mats, place mats, fans and paintings.

Fao, 27, teaches art to the Goshen residents but her specialty is elei.

“I make the elei and I paint canvases and help them to create their rocks and how to design elei,” she said.

“We teach them how to make elei so when they go to their families they can even start a business in elei. They cut the stencils themselves and they also come up with their own designs.”

The residents have become skilled in elei making.

“I don’t have to show them anymore. All of them know how to make elei,” Fao said.

Retired Faletua Fena Tupa’i teaches the consumers how to weave mats, table mats and fans.

The girls also sun the leaves and bundle them up.

 “I teach the girls how to weave mats, place mats, fans and I also show them how to make ula. It helps them to sharpen their thinking skills,” she said.

“I also show them how to weave headbands. There are so many uses for the laufala (pandanus). The girls weave, the boys don’t, they prefer guy tasks but the girls weave and they enjoy it. A few of them have become quite skilled in it.”

Tupa'i enjoys working at Goshen. Her first task is to look after the consumers. The weaving came about because Tupa'i found they often had a lot of spare time on their hands.

She also teaches them about God and The Holy Bible.

"I really like my job. Sometimes I read a book to them. I teach them to pray and I teach and remind them that God loves them."

The consumers read Scriptures and opened the 10th Anniversary event with a prayer. To show their musical talents, they led the opening hymn.

Mats and elei made at Goshen were presented as gifts to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi, Tuia Atua, Rev. Bismarck Tamati and Rev. Rod Carey.

The handicrafts made at Goshen are available for purchase.


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