People’s Voice: Children Come First but The Struggle is Real on White Sunday

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Translated from FaaSamoa. White Sunday is upon us and with it, also comes the pressure on parents and family income-earners to find new white clothes, shoes and outfits for the children to wear as they prepare to stand before the church congregation and say their tauloto (a rehearsed Bible verse or an acting role in a skit).

Around Apia on Friday afternoon we asked a few members of the public how their preparations were going.

Vagana Faamata, 38, is a mother of six from Neiafu in Savaii. She says her husband is the only income earner in the family, but the priority for both of them every White Sunday is to prepare their children for the service.

“We spent $352 tala today on our children’s clothes and preparations,” said Mrs Faamata.

“And we’re planning to be on the last ferry to Savaii today”.

Vagana Faamata, from Neiafu Savaii.

2) Mareta Utumapu is an NUS student who is looking forward to returning to Safotu Savaii for the White Sunday long weekend.

She shares that her family comprises herself, her younger sister, and her mom who cares for them.

To help ease the pressure on her mother, she has told her mom not to worry, because she and her sister will be fine wearing the same white outfits from last year.

“My mother has church obligations and also my school fees at NUS to pay, I know it’s not easy,” she says. “This is a good option to ease the burden (faamāmā avega) for her,” says Mareta.

Mareta Utumapu, Safotu Savaii.

Tile Seumanu is a 41 year old father of four from Sauniatu.  He shares that this year has been a real struggle for them with limited income for himself and his family.

“Ua faaletonu lava tupe maua i lenei vaitaimi”.

He shares that although his children can be naughty and disobedient, (faalogogatā tele tamaiti), Samoan parents will always do everything in their power to provide for them on White Sunday.

“Ua faaletonu tupe maua i lenei vaitaimi ae finau lava mo mea lelei mo le fanau.. O au o matua fanau e pei o upu a le atunuu”.

Tile Seumanu.

Tanema Muliaga is a 24 year old from Samatau who says every year growing up, he has watched his parents buying clothes for them.

“Not only for church but new outfits for us to wear during Sunday lunch (toonai)”.

“It is also the Sunday we are treated to nice food, and the one Sunday in the year that we get to eat ice cream after toonai”, he says.

Tanema wants to call on the children of Samoa to honour their parents as the Bible teaches.

“That’s why you have to behave and listen to your parents,” he says. “Because they are working hard to provide for you”.

Many of the larger stores were open late Friday night to cater for eager shoppers and those looking for the weekend’s deals and discounts.

White Sunday long weekend is also a high risk time for alcohol related crimes, car accidents, incidences of domestic violence and driving under the influence (DUI).

Last year’s White Sunday three youth were arrested for allegedly beating a man in his 40 to death. Police reported at the time that they were drinking locally made vodka.

This year, we pray for God’s covering and protection over all the children of Samoa, and over all familes as they prepar for one of the most important holidays of the year.

God bless Samoa this White Sunday.