…my simple diy life

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Being a busy mom always sets apart the work schedule from the norms at home..in the kitchen, around the garden, my 3D sticker quotes on the wall and lanterns made out of tissue papers. But this is the great deal of being a crafty mother who uses what is there to bring out the excitement in an 8 year old’s bday parties,  last minute book club meetings and hosting events for guests.

As many do not know, I’m a rummage and frugal fan at heart. Everything you’ll see around garage sales from dressers, tables and pallets, I make use of those after sanding down old colors to adding a hot accent color that can blend in with rainbow-colored hinges. Who wants to spend money on expensive things when there’s an 8 year old who fathoms penmanship adventures with permanent markers and pointless pencils? Not I. And who would want to splurge into the fabulous Pier 1 aisles when we can do it ourselves right?

From my lil creative diy ideas, I no longer spend $$$$ on invitations, junkies, decorations and goody bags. I make my own at home from old wrapping papers, construction colorful papers from $1 stores– with just a glue gun, stapler and colorful markers. Being this frugal has saved me a whole lot of money. It has also saved me from the big dreams and dreadful months before a birthday party or last minute events. My family calls me cheapskate but they secretly adore it when my projects are done. Haters!

  1.   I love mason jars. When I was young, my grandmother used to always prefer getting her tea poured in an old mayo jar that my mother had rinsed out and reserved for used cooking oil. Grandma practically used this mayo jar for her tea for some odd reason. There was one day when we were planting flowers out back that my grandma shared her thoughts that in the future, someone will develop an entrepreneurship idea and bring value to that type of jar. She didn’t explain why but I couldn’t stop thinking of her when I discovered at a painting party with friends, that the ladies labeled these mason jars and were each stuffed with salsa, margarita drinks and goodies. The bloody Mary drink was the greatest investment I’ve seen so far with dill pickles, a shrimp, bacon, celery and a sausage tooth-picked to the mouth of the jar. My diy idea using mason jars on my daughter’s birthday party  was created finely for the goody stand as a set for the M & M’s, gumballs, dark chocolate piroulines and mustard pretzels.
  2. Sweet tooth cupcakes? I used to spend a lot of money taking cupcakes for my daughter’s classmates on her birthday and for her birthday celebration. Now, I calculated the pennies that have all been tossed into something I now know I could’ve done a long time ago. Making my own rocks! I relish being the one baking them cause I get to lick the spoon before the guests arrive. Toothpicks and glue guns always comes in handy for cupcake themes. I printed Disney characters and glued them to toothpicks for the boys. For the girls, I used a plastic snap hairpin (new-bought-make sure to wash) or fake diamond rings and place them finely on cupcakes with rainbow sprinkles. You’d be amazed to see what I used to cream the cupcakes. I didn’t go all out for a Cake Boss inspired theme. I stuck to my own frugal home slice ideas to spark up the moment for my 8 year old.
  3. Goody bags: A bag of small chips with a quantity of 20 for $4.99 worked best for me. The rest of the goodies were all exciting products that didn’t cost me much. If you extreme coupon, you could walk off with everything nearly free for goody bag items. I know budget may weigh down options for others, but you’ll realize that some things you need are really cheap as long as you’re only looking at what you need and not trying to buy 50 Star Wars mink blankets to stuff in a kid’s goody bag. Be simple: stickers, Hubba Bubba gums, juice boxes, animal crackers and a thank you note. If you want to stay on the healthy counter, there’s oranges, apples, milk cartons and cheese sticks and crackers, too. There are many ideas that can be used to stuff a goody bag, but let me just start with saying that colorful papers does the work best. My overworked stapler, glue gun and scissors were magical in procuring the hot pink stash as shown in the picture. I used a blank paper to write a lil “thanks” or “thank you” label out to glue to the goody bag. It is simple, and again, it saves moolah!

A simple menu is always sufficing for the kids. I whipped a pink platter with chips and dip, frosty animal crackers, pretzels, cheese cubes, strawberries and oreos besides pizza and birthday cake. As a Samoan, I marvel at the different boxes (not plate, BOXES!), my friends makes for huge birthday parties.At the end of the day, the kids are too busy playing games at the party, they end up not eating all the huge portions of meals made. This is where the adults start to stroll to their cars with 1, 2, or 3 boxes each. (I’m kidding)

I don’t make napkins or plates, so don’t ask me how they’re made. LOL! However, if you really want to have your event personalized on forks, spoons, napkins, plates, with bottle and wine labels, you can have them custom made  @ Oriental Labels Online.  

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Here’s my water bottle labels. Water bottle labels can be ordered online.

If you’re in American Samoa, you can print your labels with Island Printing Store by the Nuuuli Theaters in Tafuna. I ordered wine labels from them, and they came out really good. Picture below. Thanks to Esther Posala for these! (That wiz behind photo shop guru does an excellent job!)

If you scroll back up and look at my cupcakes, they’re all wavy and purdy from my fork. I instilled a lil Cake Boss design by playing waves several times with it, before giving in to adding sprinkles and displaying them on the table. But how I creamed it? *drums* Simply give up the anxiety of having to stand in the fondant aisle all day trying to be impressive. A scone bag is the same material used to procure a ziplock bag. If you can’t tell by the picture, now you know where I found my homeslice scone cream bag. I’m a simpleton. If someone spends $200 to see a purdy rendezvous, you might want to try a $50 budget to see the same results one day.

 

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My cupcakes are homemade–Tort-made (rich dark chocolate) meshed from Hershey, flour and butter fyi (My sister in law Lysa’s recipe.) Tort is very rich that when you add, cream cheese, powdered sugar, cool whip with sliced strawberries on top, you’ll be salivating for more.

Back then, we didn’t have cake boxes that we can conveniently blend together with an artisan mixer after tossing all the products in, but we had a mother who made miracles from a Hershey can, Milo or Koko Samoa (samoan cocoa) mixed with flour. Every other day when my mother didn’t want to knead the mini dough balls for a Kopai (Samoan dumpling with sweet sauce), she’ll make the chocolautey cake (in a form of a bundt with Samoan jam glazed on top.)

Lastly, my frugal DIY life. Since becoming a mother, military spouse, counselor and law school student, I’ve been crunching so much to the last strand of hair left on my head. Time management has become my pet peeve thus far– which helped to ameliorate the discombobulated last minute events. From doing it myself, I was able to save time, money and allay the headaches after a long day. Essentially, every mother’s dream is to live simply while reducing the hassle and stress from other things around the house, the family, work, and so forth. You can make it happen with these simple diy ideas!

My Peaceful Realm in Laulii

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Home is where the memories are. Home is where you were born and raised of course. I was born and raised in the beautiful archipelago below the equator in the South Pacific. This view is right out the back of my house in Lauli’i American Samoa. I grew up here in Puafotu land.

So, shells, sound of waves, shark fins, coral reefs, tide pools, turtle hatch seasons, feet sinking in sand are all a familiar setting. We visited home recently and was able to take several pictures while home. Sharing the alofa (love) with anyone who’s not familiar with tropical areas and our paradise of American Samoa.

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Morning Sunrise in Lauli’i, American Samoa

Caught the sunrise several times at 5:45Am close to 6Am some mornings while home. It’s so peaceful and the air is just crisp and clean before the rush hour. Sunrise is beautiful until the sun is standing still in the middle of the sky. If  you’re not familiar with the humid warm air of paradise American Samoa, now you’re warned with baking instructions around the sun.

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I spent a lot of time here writing. There was no wireless or any access to my phone carrier, so everyday here was a reminder that this was the “pause” that I definitely needed. I didn’t have any of that while in Wisconsin, but relaxing here is a reminder that I needed to relax and enjoy the view before returning back to the cornfield in the Midwest.

 

 

 

 

#IamPolynesian

Polynesian, utah, willies bar, salt lake city, samoan, maea, racial profiling, discrimination, Samoa, Uncategorized

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/utah-bartender-serve-polynesians-article-1.2536606

Racial profiling is not new to anyone who has encountered discrimination before. For Polynesians, that would be rare compared to what has been viral on the news and several social media engines. On the case of two brothers who stopped by in Salt Lake, Utah for a drink at Willie’s bar, this would be the first to go viral on the news and in places where there is a small population or percentage of islanders from Polynesia.

The two Samoan brothers experienced more than the owner presumed is a misunderstanding. Clearly, from what the bartender stated, it was also supported by the owner of this bar, in the State of Utah. A bar that experienced problems in the past with Polynesians, according to the owner.  They did not state directly what kind of Polynesian, whether the incident in the past had any connection with Samoans, Hawaiians, Tongan or Niuean. The owner mentioned, some. He didn’t say, “some, but not all.” He said some Polynesians.

What they failed to realize is, Polynesia is a triangular ring of many islands. If they’re considerably calling these two Samoan brothers, Polynesian, then they’re not only labeling anyone who looks Samoan, a  Polynesian; but it could be any sort of mixed person that has the color brown on their skin. Must I add, this astounding experience clearly display a huge difference between spotting troublemakers and profiling skin colors.

Peculiarly, the brothers’ experience at this bar is not only rare, but mortifying for any individual from Samoa or the Polynesian islands. The bartender stated that the bar rules are, in the exact words, “We do not serve Polynesians, it is the order of the owner, and if I do not follow, I’ll get fired.”

This caused a viral outburst on social media. It is not only discriminating to those who have zero knowledge and awareness of what occurred at the bar in the past, but is also scrutinizing on the basis of discriminatory practice towards people.

This is just another form of hallucination if you ask me. Every bar or club experiences altercation and any ruckus of some sort around alcohol. This normal bicker or hype normally occurs from days of NFL seasons, arm wrestling and beer drinking competitions, dart and pool table tournaments. Anything around alcohol will stir chaos most certainly, but it still doesn’t give the owner of the bar the right to profile or stereotype a whole community and people that way. Ever.

This incident is racial profiling on “Polynesians,” and a highly discriminatory practice in every way; for a business licensed under the federal and state laws-and the main law that some people have the tendency to look past which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. (Remember Chick a Filet & LGBT?)

I could understand if they mentioned Samoan or Tongan, hence, there is a lot of islands in the Polynesia circle. Whatever excuses I heard on the news, it is pretty clear that it still doesn’t dissect the situation from racial discrimination at its best. If you tell someone, “I don’t serve Polynesians,” then in the latter, try to dispute that saying as meant for jailbirds and troublemakers, then profiling colors must’ve been a wild coincidence as a jailbird or a troublemaker are distinct from the word “Polynesian.” Instead of spotting troublemakers and jailbirds, they were spotting people of color.

The way this word, “Polynesian”  was mentioned does show great significance of that difference in who they did not allow in the Willie’s bar. The bartender did not say, polyester, polygamy, or polyacrylamide, or polyandrous..She said, Polynesians!

Must I add, there are very many atolls in that Polynesian ring too. So, the uproar of the very many complaints and concerns on social media presently about this incident in Utah is not coming from just Samoans. It is coming from all clusters and groups of all Polynesian islands who are affected by stereotyping and profiling incident.

This is a difficult situation, as Polynesians are always known to be family-oriented, friendly and compassionate people.But we can use this to empower and enlighten one another to pursue bigger and better things in life; despite the way people perceive of us. You see, adversity determines who we are..and one who blooms through it will continue to bloom through anything and succeed.

Polynesians are well-known as strong people of the Oceania, through their stamina of fishing and cultivating talents in sports. They are also very talented wrestlers and natural fighters with tempers. And many portray Polynesians as body builders or huge bulldozers who stops at none.

Aside from that, Polynesians are relationship keepers. You’ll miss out on the hospitality that most share and reminisce about, of these people as the most friendliest individuals you will ever meet in this world. When someone picks on you, they got your back. Their home is your home, too. Their family is yours also. When you’re hungry, they’ll feed you everything- usually, the normal size of soda case boxes filled with months-worth of food.

With this situation in Utah, it has attract a lot of angry Polynesians. But my encouragement for my people is; we can smash wooden chairs on our heads and start a fight with everyone, but it doesn’t change hatred in someone’s heart towards us. We’re not like that.

Through worst, we can learn from the way people treat us and among ourselves.While anyone can treat you wrongly and say, you’re of no noble color, or you don’t belong here.It is okay; the burden is on them, not us. As Martin Luther King stated in several of his encouraging words: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear..Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now. He who lives by the sword shall perish by the sword.”

Willie’s bar may lose sale, even the business license through lawsuits, but we’ll live on as who we truly are–loving Polynesian people with dignity, love and respect. People who work hard and knows no one owes us anything…we earn everything ourselves!

Remember one thing, every corner of this country has an immigrant that came here for a purpose. Quite frankly for most, the American dream. And from immigrants, we all became citizens. Not just Polynesians, everyone who is not Native American.

Let’s be strong and do good for our parents and families praying for us back home too. Not during the time we become victims; but all the time, when we’re in crowds, circles, intoxicated, doing the choohooos in the middle of the road and threatening to poki (beat up) someone after one heineken and so forth.This does not apply to those who are yearning and pursuing for greater good in goals and dreams to stay in stride but a nice reminder to avoid predicaments while away from home.

Life here is simply easy, but unlike home, we pay utilities, bills, rent and mortgage and so forth..We’re free to do a lot here; but to get by, we must do work..Yes, I wake up to go to work. I take classes, find webinars and workshops,take care of my family besides my own back home,cook, clean, blog, write and drool on homeworks late at night. This is what I came for, and someone’s ignorance about the color of my skin will never change my stride nor take that focus from me, because all that we do is for our betterment as well as our families.

It’s a culture shock to some that we work hard for our fa’alavelave’s (family functions & events) and families. It’s a culture shock for us too when kids, at the age of 18, have to move out of their homes here. Learning other cultures is not only a culture shock, but also rewarding to understand. Our focus is mainly on now and what we’re doing though. And I mean now, meaning, what we’re doing out here for ourselves and our loved ones home praying for us everyday. Keep meditating on the centered realm that what’s out there will not stop us from doing good and being the most friendliest people in this world.

Keep focus on your dreams and goals, my dear Polynesian brothers and sisters. We can’t challenge hatred that is taught, but we can approach any situation with light–the love our parents taught us. When you apply love & our undefeated achievements to pure ignorance, the battle is half won! Yeah there is racism, yes there is stereotyping…there is hatred…Unlike love, “hatred has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” Love Wins!

#IamPolynesian

Alofa tele atu!

Lynn (Author of Lovefolds of Our Upbringing-

 

 

 

 

 

Dont be Scared to speak up!

samoa,freedom of speech, local citizens, pay raise for faipule, american samoa, legislature, citizens of American Samoa, PagoPago, NoToPay Raise, Uncategorized

I supported this protest recently and was extremely proud of those who stood up for this cause in Fagatogo. (http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/young-and-old-turn-out-protest-fono-pay-raises)

I believe that voicing our concerns is our right as local citizens of American Samoa, even if someone else repels from the goals and attempt of this protest.

It is unusual that our local residents didn’t have a group like this before to voice concerns about the financial problems within our island.But now, we do– with the very few local residents who believes in a better government, integrity and people’s needs first.

Although it took a while and several issues in the past to actuate a stand publicly, I am glad it turned out to be a successful event. What took place besides protesting was an outburst of enraged responses igniting out of leaders and those who did not support the protest against the “Pay Raise for Representatives,” in American Samoa. We are divided under that notion that no one has the right to speak up for their own right. Which is why this event would appeal as an uncanny event for most people.

This protest is for us– the people of American Samoa, and our voice. The problem is not protesting at all if you ask me. When we contest, we are speaking frankly about something that is not right or unconstitutional. We have that right to advocate. And no one has to stop us from doing whatever we choose to do- as long as our taxes are garnished for the betterment of our government.

The problem is greed. Another problem is the notion that most have had the tendency to contest that we, as the people, have no rights to even speak out about anything that affects us significantly. Perhaps, bullying people off their centered beliefs because someone is connected or somehow related to another. We can choose to remain neutral in various subjects, but battling integrity and doing what is right should be everyone’s agenda.

The agendas and current issues occurring in our territory affects everyone. It is wrong to silence people. People have rights to speak up about anything no matter what. We have the same right to speech, in the same manner we are subject to vote for representatives during elections. Our vote puts these leaders in the positions they are in now. Yet, to others, protesting is wrong.

It’s wrong to contest against someone who is speaking up for what is right. It is excruciating for people to segregate and oppose protests, but have no suggestions or solutions to the ongoing issues in our territory. You think they’re just on a Devondale or Fresh Milk fix here? I don’t know, but those who oppose protesting never gave a solution to any problems in the past and now.

Our government is already facing a lot of financial troubles. Yet, there is a possibility here with county representatives petitioning a pay raise during a time when this should be the last thing anyone should worry about. The focus should be on the needs within each county. The focus should be for our people. And when someone tries to shoo anyone down because they are speaking the truth, then the problem is not really about protesting. Exposure of greed and corruption is, and the people are finally speaking up about it.

With elections around the corner, I pray and hope everyone stays safe and continue to value respect and integrity among one another. Respect and love for one another; and a commitment to honesty and integrity always!

Follow United Citizens of American Samoa here: https://www.facebook.com/United-Citizens-of-American-Samoa-1548285772152567/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

God bless!

 

 

“Lovefolds of Our Upbringing..” a novel

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   I know you’re growing curious as to who the heck this is out of all the Samoan writers and authors who has made the headlines and monumental best-selling list. I know. I felt the same way when I first discovered Kindle online and some South Pacific writers. When I read about Daniel and Leila, I was very well locked into my room for hours. Must I add, I went days correcting my husband several times about the sudden glitch in the system and error in my birth certificate. “Ummm I beg to differ, it’s Leila, not Lynn!” 


I love Lani Young, Sia Figiel and Logo Filloon and their talented work. I give them full credit and respect for opening more windows to the world to see the capacity of growing talents in our archipelagos. The world has not only discovered talented people in both Samoan islands, but have also got a chance to see more behind the dots on the map. Humbly, I am just a rambunctious soul who fathoms life, Samoa, my korean soap operas, pinterest crafts, pisupo (corned beef), flip flops and Five Stars. I am from Lauli’i, American Samoa and my roots originated from Samoa, Savaii, the Manu’a Islands and the waves of immigrants from China who settled in Falealili. There you have it, I’m full blooded Samoan and not a #LivalivaAsoLeAiSeTaimiu 


I began writing Lovefolds of Our Upbringing (This Book Here ), when I was in 3rd grade. My journals and diaries since then are still with me presently. I still vaguely recall the many times I made attempts to publish this book. I paused every day over doubts and mixed emotions if what I was writing would be something my readers would relish in a world fixed upon fiction prose of demi gods and mythology mortals as well as other topics. 

When the doubts accumulated, I began to appraise train of thoughts that many people would ponder anxieties upon at the glance or thought of uncertainty.  I started out by creating my own genre for my chosen audience with assurance (#tooshua) that if at anytime in a cloud of doubts, my fierce reaction would be to keep going even if a declination from any publishing company motivates me to jump over the bridge or #pugaIlefreeway. 

    

Subsequently, I chose an influential topic to exhibit a positive message for younger generations with a culture-centered setting to inspire readers. Children leave home upon completion of high school for military careers, off-island opportunities and education abroad. Many things happen from: rapid changes upon transitioning from a small island to big cities and increased influence of technology and other factors, which contributes to reclusive habits.  This type of bearing isolates one from the normalcy of taking care of parents and the foundation they fostered under to always remember family, as well as the beginning.  Many may have forgotten that and have immune to the notion of other practices by which at a certain age, when a child ascends to the legal 18, they are no longer obliged to a parent even their consent. 

     

The way life works now is nothing compared to when I was growing up in the Samoan Islands. It is a familiar background to many. Yet for some, they may surprisingly read through the unfamiliar setting of Lovefolds. It creates a culture shock for many, while some may customarily share the relatable and solitary norms practised by all Samoan families. 

I portrayed a setting people would attract to and reflect to the beginning. I also elaborated more on the indisputable based from experience and some of the encounters witnessed in neighborliness villages with others, families and associates as envisioned in this fiction book.

The message that the “Lovefolds of Our Upbringing” book (Read Reviews here) prominently shares, does spin a charismatic upbringing for many. The book grasped curiosity about the life in Samoa for people who are unfamiliar with the Samoan culture, and the beauty of the practices and norms that its people embrace.

The first draft was transferred over from scratch. It was in scribbles on a spiraled “Winston Churchill” notebook my good friend Edith sent me. An array of “pay-it forward” viral statuses on facebook earned myself a notebook. That book was later filled with characters of a mother, father, their 11 children and the humble upbringing in Samoa as well as extended families. 

This compelling story evokes a compendium of journalism perspectives from all characters in the family and their upbringing- from waking up in the morning to a fixed schedule of chores, the bond between parents and their children,family prayers and recaps, the norm of growing up under the dogma and notion of the Samoan culture founded under “God before everything.” 


This book also exhibits a fine and vigorous background, and a grotesque of the skirmishing encounters each characters endured and braced through. If you have not experienced riding on a Samoan rollercoaster yet, prepare yourself now for a real Samoan rollercoaster brawl!

More reviews and updates for Molioleava books can be found on My “Molioleava Books” Facebook Page. Much alofas! 

Fa’alavelave

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I value our humble traditions and practices, however, some of our prominent customs are slowly gliding into extinction. A fa’alavelave, or a special family function,will always be a part of us. There are different types of fa’alavelave in a Samoan family. From funeral, title ceremonies, family reunions, discussions and so forth..you name it. There’s  quite too many to mention.

 

We will all eventually leave this temporary realm someday. We are loyal to our roots and extended bloodlines. Aside from taking care of our very own, we render and contribute everything into fa’alavelave more than how other countries honor a loved one’s passing. Helping a family member is a wonderful thing. However, we may have taken it far from the norms originally practiced by our ancestors.The coconut which was always used, is now nearly an extinct tradition.

If you ask a Samoan what their definition of fa’alavelave is, be prepared for the answer. To some, it’s the “F” word.

If you look at our world, big countries are suffering from economic crises. Fiscal funds may now or someday not cover portals awaiting assistance to fund salaries and paychecks. Some of us are more eager to consider reputation, thoughts of others and pride more than other consequences. As Lani Young mentioned in one of her Blogs about Faalavelave’s, Food and Fuss (here),”A lot of what we do at a funeral has nothing to do with grief, sympathy and mourning. It’s all about WHAT WILL PEOPLE THINK?!

There’s distress in oil rigging, financial disasters and the lack of expansion in big countries we harbor upon. That can affect us. That and the unemployment crises of course. The cost and living among us, is inflated by population and the incline of health problems lacking cure also. Funding for research is becoming harder for scientists than it normally did. Interest groups aren’t campaigning harder than they used to; laws are becoming harder for scientists to develop answers. Hospitals are auctioning generic supplies and equipments to meet the needs of patients, while battling funds. The Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in American Samoa is still in an interrogatory era with hopes for change soon. Financial crises will soon expend us a slim-to-none funding, which plays a huge role in the provisions for our many fa’alavelave’s.

Fa’alavelave’ has slowed down possibilities and positive outcomes for change. I am sorry to break it to you, but this is true. As a Samoan proverb states: “E fofo e le alamea le alamea.” It means, our own solutions comes from us alone once we choose to consider “solution” by taking the steps to resolving financial splurge, family bind and decline in our islands. For example, let’s save money for a college fund for our kids…how about purchasing more dish wares , because apparently some “aiga basket” walked off with the brand new dozen purchased before the fa’alavelave..Here are some steps to help …THERE!! (Do skip Step 1 please, ANZ is still struggling to answer for the doubled ATM fees in American Samoa and Bank of Hawaii left American Samoa, well not really, sooner, but not soon, its ATMs are still functioning though.)

Essentially, my main concern is about the days after a fa’alavelave, when our children has nothing to eat for a month after rendering all into a fa’alavelave. Where are we going to get this money from with the outpour of financial troubles arising in our economy today? Monies collected, on the other hand, are used to purchase the fine 2 Liter sodas for a suata’i or 80 yard of satin materials and so forth.

Our society will increasingly splurge and lose the indigenous practices because of pride that will not benefit us and our families. We can change anything we choose to change as long as we remember the important factors and consider traditional practices our ancestors fathomed over the years when it came to fa’alavelave’s, or in other words, the Samoan”F” word.