Women of Samoa
Mothers Day celebrations from San Diego and Salt Lake City
Last Sunday was a special day for mothers in the USA and around the world. Here are some of the photos from San Diego, CA and Salt Lake City, Utah. There were celebrations in different churches including the First Samoan Baptist Church from La Mesa, CA, The LDS Granger Ward in West Valley, Utah and the Voice of Christ Full Gospel Church in Spring Valley, CA. A lovely Mothers Day to all.
Samoan Strength rules at Miss World.
‘Samoan women are leaders’
By Sarafina Sanerivi
The women of Samoa are born leaders.
That’s the opinion of Cathy Allen, President of the consulting firm The Connections Group. Ms. Allen extolled the potential of Samoan women during the first day of a two-day workshop organized by the Samoa Ala Mai Advocacy Group for women candidates.
During an interview with the Samoa Observer, Ms. Allen said Samoa is about to make history. Out of all the countries in world, Pacific Island countries including Samoa have the lowest rate when it comes to women representation in Parliament.
Ms. Allen says this is “astonishing”.
“This is because you do so much for women and have so much respect for them,” she said.
“Most of your women are educated and have the same chance to go to school as the boys. They now also have the same opportunity to get jobs like boys in your society.”
Ms. Allen added that Samoa has done a lot to try and put a stop to violence against women and she thought that was very “brilliant”.
“But the question is, how come there is a small number of women being elected in Parliament? The women of Samoa are not shy; they are not the kind of women in which you push over. You don’t push these women over. It’s just surprising that there aren’t many women in Parliament.”
But she is confident that that is about to change on 4 March 2016.
“On that day, you will wake up to the highest number of women in Parliament,” she said.
She believes this will be the beginning of a lot of good things for women here in Samoa.
“We will see the growing number of women in jobs, more women in appointments and more women as Ministers. This is just the beginning.” The 10 per cent quota for women in Parliament is a good start, she said. “You have to start somewhere. Five is a good a place to start with.”
But she believes it’s the beginning of ‘change,’ something the people of Samoa want.
“What I hear all over Samoa is that people want change. I hear that they don’t like the status quo where people have been in the office for so long and they want some fresh faces, particularly the youth.
“The young people are saying, if there are women that are running, she is not the status quo, and I am going to vote for her.”
So what is she telling the women candidates?
“Do not run because you are a woman. Run because you bring something to the table. Something that has a special background in terms of dealing with your community and the issues they face.
“We have doctors, lawyers, community officers, business women and teachers running and I think our women candidates have enough skills to take their place on the table.”
Asked about what she believes make a good Parliamentarian, Ms. Allen said he/she is “someone who listens, someone who is fair and honest. Someone who will tell you the truth even if it’s not popular.
“Someone who includes people who are not at the table but who are affected by the policies discussed.
“Someone who actually helps people decide the problems and shows them how to solve the problems, and then stay on the track to solving those problems.
“A great leader is someone that becomes your inspiration for getting the real hard work done,” she added. “Someone who makes life fair, equal and prosperous for everyone.” As someone who spent some time writing for the New York Times, Ms. Allen believes that reporters make the best candidates. And that women candidates should have the attributes of a reporter.
“That’s because they [reporters] are fair and they ask the right questions,” she said.
Talking from experience, Ms. Allen believes reporters tend to ask the real questions that people want to know, as opposed to the type of questions that will result in profits.
“And women are just like them, and they should be like them and ask questions that will benefit all.” Looking at the list of candidates for the election, Ms. Allen said they are “astounding”.
“I’ve met 19 of them and coming from someone who has traveled around the world and met a lot of different people, I think that your women were born as leaders,” she said.
“There is that sense of self-assurance in them I do not see in most women I’ve met. In other countries, I would spend most of the time talking about confidence and self-confidence, but not in Samoa.
“Here I talk about how many votes you need to get in order for you to win. I talk about how often they need to visit the people of the constituency. I don’t have to talk about their personalities and how they present themselves.”
Samoan women are very strong and have leadership potential, she said.
“I don’t have to teach them so much about leadership. We just have to focus much on campaigns dynamics.”
Ms. Allen added that the candidates must be brave.
“They need to speak freely and briefly,” she said. “They need not to go into long programmes and they need to be able to say their opinion in short and simple sentences. They need to be straight-forward. They need to make sure that our lands remain our own and that everyone who is entitled to the land keeps the land.”
Moreover, she added that women candidate should broaden opportunities for our children to have a better future in Samoa to avoid having to migrate overseas.
“We want leaders who will make a difference and keep Samoa a safer place and safer home for our children.”
Ms. Allen’s work focuses on helping communities, governments, non-profit organizations and women’s groups to better communicate to the press, the public and politicians.
ZITA MARTEL, Captain of the Fautasi, Don Bosco 200
Memories of my grandmother
By Dahni Lauoletolo-Wily
My Grandma Fala Thompson -Ainu'u would have been 90 years old this week if she was still here. Am grateful for her legacy she's left behind. A single mom since her husband grandpa Vaipou Ainu'u passed away when my mom was about 3 yrs old. She was talented and witty...poker face...hard worker...tough but very loving.
I have many memories of her and the wisdom she has taught me through her example. Happy 90th Grandma. Love and miss you.
Fun facts and memories of Grandma Fala...
1. Awesome cook
2. Played the Ukulele and sang well
3. When my mom Sina Ainuu was born she had Blue eyes. G-Ma Fala prayed to the Lord for my mom's eyes to turn brown. Lol
4. She had a mid wife or shall i say mid wives. ..she said when giving birth to my mom...2 woman held her up and the 3rd woman caught my mom. Lol
5. Grandma didn't know how to drive. Lol
6. Grandma was an awesome Gardener. She loved Roses and gardenas.
7. Grams was part Caucasian but very proud to be a Samoan.
8. Grams loved to watch Perry Mason. Lol
9. Early in the morning mainly on Saturdays she played old Hawaiian music as she started breakfast.
10. One time I said the prayer for breakfast and rushed it because I was so hungry...that afterwards grams said, "your prayer didn't even reach the ceiling" ---as she pointed up with her finger waving around. Hahaha
11. Grandma said, "its forbidded for me to say SHUT UP because it was a bad word" --i thank God she didn't slap me when I'd let my temper get the best of me.
12. I remember hearing her tell my baby brother Gary Lauoletolo who upset me, to apologize to me. He did ( i was 9) and I was still mad. I heard my grams ask Gary what did I say back and Gary replied, "nothing" ...i felt bad that my grams try to teach us to say sorry and forgive...and I couldn't at the time.
13. Grams was all about being beautiful inside and out. I was putting makeup on and she'd say, "fix your 2nd face" as she lifted my arm up exposing my pits. Hahahahaha
14. She despised me running the water while washing dishes.
15. She didn't sugar coat some things. Lol. Ok...a lot of things...like asking my husband Ian why he wanted to marry me because I'm TERRIBLE when I get angry. Lol
16. She was an awesome seamstress who taught herself as a little by sneaking material to the back of the house to sew.
17. I loved that grams let me be me at times. I know she didn't like a lot of my decisions as a teenager but she loved me unconditionally. ♡♡♡
18. She loved watching Wrestling! ! She'd Cheer so loud for Hulk Hogan. I was dumb founded...esp when she n my hubs sit together cheering. Lol
19. My sister and I learned about Easter because of her. She dyed the eggs n already had them hidden in the back yard. We were new to it but enjoyed it so much. She's always thought of often during Easter.
20. Grams had the biggest Christmas decorations on her roof out of the whole block.
21. Grams tried to feed every friend thatI brought home. When one friend didn't want the orange grams peeled for her grams asked , "you think it's poison? " haha
22. When I was little I'd say "ewwww Fala the Bathroom Stinks!" She'd reply " What Do You Think!! The bathroom is suppose to smell like Roses!!!" LOL
23. I stepped on grams foot once and cried how sorry I was and she said " why you say sorry for! Its done already!!"
24. I accidentally shut the passenger door ( to the van) on grams fingers as she was tryin to get out thru the back sliding door. I was so sad and prepared for her to scold me. She didn't. (I luv her so much)
25. Grams treated us kids as a REAL PERSON. Not like some of those old grouchy samoan women who yelled at us for walking by because we shouldn't be seen or heard.
26. Grams made fish and told me to come eat (I was about 5/6 yrs old ) I told Grams I didn't like fish. Grandma said, "Well Fish No like You Too!!" Haha
27. I only saw Grams cry 4 times. Once at the hospital, 2nd when her mom passed 3rd when her cousin Leia Mapu passed away and 4th when her son (my Uncle James Vaipou Ainu'u) was leaving us in Texas to drive back to California.
28. Grams only had a 4th grade education. Unbelievable to me. She was an intelligent woman.
29. A woman who served others even those she didn't know.
30. I always felt that everything was alright when she was around. ♡♡♡
--I could go on and on but thanks for reading-
31. (Last one lol) -I'd say, "Thanks for the food grandma!" Then she'd reply, "Thanks for eating" lol. I say that to my kids and nephews n nieces now.
Samoan football's top official defies critics to raise soccer's profile in rugby-mad Samoa
By Richard Ewart,
Australia Network News
Samoa is not a country generally recognised for its soccer prowess, but the country's top football official is not letting that stand in the way of her goal to see the so-called world game become Samoa's top game, too.
The chief executive of Football Federation Samoa, Sarai Bareman, has taken on the job of raising the standard of the game in her country.
She says her goal is to elevate Samoa out of the Pacific bottom four, where it sits with Cook Islands, American Samoa and Tonga, into a position where it can compete with much stronger footballing nations like Fiji or New Zealand.
Ms Bareman says the Federation has started rebuilding football's grassroots programs, especially those that target primary school aged children, with the aim of making the sport a first choice for young people.
But she's told Pacific Beat, that will be a battle in a country where another football code holds sway.
"Rugby (union) is huge over here," she said.
"It's in every village and every kid's dream is to be a Manu Samoa rugby player.
"So I guess the aim for us is to make football the top sport for kids."
With Samoan team Kiwi FC qualifying for the 2014 Oceania Football Confederation Champions League, Sarai Bareman says the game's profile will be lifted further.
"We now have a team that's local that we can put up as role models for the young kids that are coming through, and also to showcase what we are capable of here in Samoa to the wider Pacific as well," she said.
"We're very pleased that they've made it through, (although) they're in a very tough pool so it's not going to be a easy task."
Ms Bareman says Samoans are naturally gifted athletes with a good level of raw strength, speed and power.
With right training environment, she says, those natural abilities could be harvested, leading to the development of world class soccer players.
'A man's world'But before Sarai Bareman could fulfil her ambition of boosting football's profile in Samoa, she had to take on the established male order, and endure a wave of sexist remarks and abuse.
She says the pathway has not been easy.
"Football is a man's world and being female put up some barriers," she said.
"But I think now certainly the criticism and the negative aspects that I dealt with earlier in my role have started to die down, and I'd like to think that my performance in the role is what has silenced those critics."
Women and girls have approached her with their own stories of battling sexism.
"It's clear to me the adversity that I faced is something that is very common here in the Pacific and especially within Samoa," Ms Bareman said.
She's been passionate about developing women's soccer, believing that not only do girls have potential to become great players but they also gain social benefits of leadership and equality.
"Outside of football the thing that I really love most of all about this role is the impact that it can have on the social outcomes, especially for young people," she said.
"Certainly for me, women's empowerment is a big part of that."
Artist Grace Vanilau leads celebrations of Pacific culture in Melbourne
March 20, 2014,
Grace Vanilau is a woman of many talents and a proud identity.
She is a singer, writer, weaver and orator, who was born in New Zealand, is of Samoan heritage and calls Melbourne home.
"I have different identities and I just own them all," she says, when asked about her identity.
"I'm a Samoan woman, or a Polynesian woman, a Pacific person - depending on, I guess the situation or context ... I take on a different identity."
Music is one of her major passions.
"I think I came out singing."
"My mother is a singer also and my grandfather [was] also a singer and composer of Samoan music." Her grandfather So'omalo Seiuli was one of the first people in Samoa to learn how to play the piano. He was trained by the London Missionary Society.
A life on song
"His life's work was travelling around Samoa and translating English hymns into Samoan and teaching the villagers how to play the piano." He also wrote his own music. "So [his] kids then became his choir ... My mum and all her sisters sang and also all the first cousins ... so, it just transferred on to us."
Ms Vanilau's father was a Pentecostal minister and a lot of her childhood involved singing gospel songs in church with her mother and siblings. As a family they travelled to the US, Hawaii, Tonga and Australia because of her father's work. Her grandparents also lived with the family in Christchurch, New Zealand. "One of my fondest memories was we'd have a big Sunday lunch - a to'ona'i - and my family would gather around the piano, my grandfather would start playing the piano ... and then my aunties would start singing. "The rest of the family would slowly start to lend their voices and harmonies. And then one of the aunties would try and sing the highest soprano - my mum would say it's like someone scratching on a tin roof!"
"So I grew up with that, you know, a real love of family and community - that's what singing did to us, it brought us all together." However, singing is just one of Ms Vanilau's loves - she also writes poetry and short stories, weaves and, most recently, has become an orator. She learnt weaving from her former mother-in-law, who is from Niue. "We started making costumes, earrings, contemporary works." "She actually transferred that knowledge onto me so I can pass it onto my daughter." As for poetry, she continues to have an average of three gigs a week performing her poem Alpha Groove.
Grace Vanilau lived in Christchurch in the late 1970s and '80s. "I grew up at the height of the dawn raids," she said, referring to when NZ authorities would raid homes of Pacific Islanders, looking for illegal immigrants and overstayers.
She faced racist taunts at school. "It was a common thing for the teachers to call us 'coconuts' and 'bloody savages' - it was just a normal thing for them." As a young schoolgirl at the time, she hated it. "I hated it ... I'd get so angry and I knew it wasn't right ... "
However it wasn't all bad at school.
"I was blessed with a powerful voice ... so I was in every production in primary school and high school." "I was in the rock band, jazz band and I sang opera ... and also [involved in] Maori kapa haka." She adds cheekily: "It was also a way for me to get out of the school, because I hated academia! "We'd do gigs to get out of class!"
Pacific arts in Melbourne
As a founding member and the Performing Arts Coordinator of the annual Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival, Ms Vanilau is busy ahead of this year's event.
"For me, the Festival is an opportunity for us, not just as strong women, but strong men, strong communities to come together and show our strength and show that for our children."
"It's all about bringing together skilled people with the same vision ... it's about us being able to provide a solid platform for our Pacific communities Australia-wide."
The Contemporary Pacific Arts Festival Community Day is on this Saturday, March 22 in Footscray, Melbourne.
From Sixteen days of Activism Samoa website