Come Sunday, we Forget the Hardship – Samoanness is a Way of Life


The empty beaches, climbing debts, and busy Apia streets are going berserk all at once.

Restaurants, the one I ventured to, on a blessed Saturday morning, smells of empty seats, eager waiters, and owners smiling to the teeth.

I hear a person of political importance complimenting the chef. It brings a smile to my hopeful face. 

Further down, the cinema is closed. RSA is booming however. The lotto queue is long. And the heat outside reminds of sweaty things. 

The weekend has me pondering…

Children run to netball and badminton in Apia, but it’s not cheap or accessible to all. The village child finds fun and frivolity in destroying the garden with sticks and fire.

The wealth gap reflected in lifestyles lingers.

Apia on a Saturday afternoon. Photo: Taielua Tuasivi, SGN.

Our island is a hub of poverty and corrupted souls. It’s also a home for the meek and the fun loving optimist.

Since Covid-19, nobody knows when the sky will truly open. We await tourists like natives at the explosion of incoming vessels tied with knots, a century ago. 

Image: Samoa Tourism Authority.

It seems that experts of analysis have calculated hope and positivity for the tourism industry. We will be good to receive guests from overseas after covid19.

It’s like sitting on Mount Vaea and imagining that landing on the potholes below will be safe.

So we vie with optimism despite the shortage of breath, and the reality of living with unpaid debts. 

Speaking of potholes, who is available to fix them these days? Build a road susceptible to potholes, and then be paid again to come back to fix them? Sounds like a cleverly engineered coup. Pun intended.

There’s a difference between potholes and a safe road. We have a lot of the former and very little of the latter.

Unnecessary deaths due to unsafely monitored roads, to vehicles, to drivers, astounds me.

But the data from the visitors for the tourism industry speaks highly of our culture, environment, and our people. I see a young man crossing the road with sunglasses, and a back pack.

In the village, the ideal is that the same young man is preparing the umu stones for Sunday toanai.

Photo: Samoa Tourism Authority.

The culture of taxis and buses with American movie stars painted on them;

The culture of children walking around Apia with packets of ear buds and baskets of coconuts;

The culture of observers sitting in aircon offices looking out..

It breaks me to see that in all these cultures, the birds I hear in the morning and the crickets at dusk are soon forgotten.

Everyday living is a hustle till we go home, isn’t it?

Come Sunday, we forget the hardship. Our Samoanness isn’t a romantic attraction. It’s a way of life. It’s a humble feeling that makes a people seem resilient.

It’s a radiance that attracts people of foreign countries because we live in the moment all the time.

Maybe this rag has no answers for the emptied tourism industry, the vague idea of road safety and the loss of purpose in our youth.

Maybe it has a whisper of all of it for you and I, to look forward to your life and mine, to be patient and to be alive.

Maybe this rag is saying that despite Covid19, the best we can do is live life with integrity. I mean, what else will carry us through if not to be true? What can we offer other than our hearts? 

God  bless you.

Lumepa Hald