Poetry contest winners announced

By Adel Fruean 26 November 2021, 8:07PM

Non-profit organisation Live It Nation Inc. has announced its first of two poetry contest winners for November and December 2021.

The winner is Java Esera of Vaimoso who is a medical student at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S.). 

She is also the granddaughter of the late Namulauulu Dr. Iakopo Esera and Tusiata Esera. 

In a statement announcing the winner, Live It Nation Inc. said Ms Esera’s poem titled “The Listening Salve” reflected the author’s deep respect for the fa’aSamoa and the notion of service and attending to loved ones with a humble spirit.

“I didn’t just want to write about me. I wanted to highlight every girl walking in the same shoes because this is our reality,” Ms Esera said in the statement. 

“Service is our culture. Our beautiful culture that allows us to live a relatively peaceful existence. 

“Respect and obedience are some of the most solid foundations we're brought up with.”

Reflecting on the deeper meaning behind the poem, Ms Esera said conflicts can be resolved by holding back and listening and her poem reflected that.

“The term ‘listening salve’ emphasizes how many conflicts may be solved by doing just that, by holding back and hearing each other out. Asking are you okay?” 

According to the non-profit organisation, this year’s first winner captured our hearts with her words of healing and inspiration.

Live It Nation Inc. founder Fred Young congratulated the winner and her family while presenting her with the $1,000 tala prize money and a $250 gift voucher from the McDonald’s Restaurant.

“Live It Nation has more in store for the youth of Samoa and with the generosity and support of the people of Samoa and beyond, we can accomplish our goals in literacy and youth development, together,” Mr Young said.

It is not the first time for the non-profit organisation to support a poetry contest as it launched its contest targeting secondary school students last October.

Last year the winners of the top poetry entries also received $1,000 tala and merchandise with the winning poetry entries getting published.

Ms Esera’s poem titled “The Listening Salve” is printed below:

“This past year, I have done as I have always done, 

To help my family - arguably my nation, all in one. 

How so? 

By listening to those in charge. 

Simple as it sounds, she worked like a charm. 

I have served as daughter, sister, and confidante. 

Day in, day out

During lockdown, follow the regulations. 

At home, obey parents’ exhortations. 

And at work, comply with administration. 

Wash hands, wash the dishes, watch your team.

And repeat. 

Mundane as it seems, simply listening is a service unseen. 

Lend an ear, and perform with the finger snap. 

Snap, snap, snap! 

Smiling & patient, take it with a salt grain. 

Your spine stays straight, through strife & pain. 

In times of pandemic & global catastrophe, 

We see "heroes" as action figures, amid the calamity. 

Thinking only a special few can save humanity –

 When in fact – we all make an impact. 

If we realised the power of attending to others, 

That a listening salve could heal & recover 

World, Nation, Village, Home… 

What is a hero? 

Dutiful daughter, dear sister, 

My girl – just know YOU keep the lights on.”

By Adel Fruean 26 November 2021, 8:07PM
Samoa Observer

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