A 73 year old mother who is back in Samoa this week from the first time in 56 years, is still trying to adjust to the massive changes she has returned to.
Sarai Fesulua'i left the country as a 17 year old and is overwhelmed by what she has experienced and the positive face of the Apia town area compared to when she was last in Samoa.
"It’s been way too long since I was in Samoa. I am overwhelmed by the changes and it feels good to be back home,” she confided in Newsline Samoa.
“Since we arrived, I have been very awestruck by the different changes that I am learning with our island.
“Nothing gets better than this and I feel emotional seeing the actual fa’aSamoa played out before me here during the Teuila Festival that I have enjoyed so much."
"I moved to NZ when I was only 17 years old and I have lived there my whole life until now, we decided to come back with the persuasion of my sister Elena Tupua to tag along in bringing my grandchildren to Samoa to experience the Fas Samoa in the Teuila Festival celebration."
Wiping her tears as she recounts the moments she spent with her relatives in Samoa, and how the relationship came to an end, Fesulua'i admitted she never really got the chance to learn enough of the Fa’aSamoa.
"All these years, I left when I was young, I started life and lived with my family in New Zealand all these years, I remember the culture and how important it is but to me, it was more important to actually see it firsthand.
It is the culture I love and no matter how long I have been away, that culture is imprinted in me and I vividly remember it like it was yesterday but much better and more fun now."
The experience of her grandchildren while in Samoa to watch the Teuila Festival this year according to Fesulua'i is very important to her that she wants them to come back and learn the fa’aSamoa as it is an important identity they should learn by heart.
"It is unreal to finally make this trip and to be here in Samoa. I am very happy to be back and to experience the fa’aSamoa in Samoa."
Reminiscing the great moments she had while with her family 56 years ago, Fesulua'i smiling while chewing her baked taro from Samoa Tourism Authority, told Newsline Samoa that visiting this week is one of the best memories in her life that she will always cherish.
"There are so many exciting things going on this week with Teuila Festival, This trip was planned carefully because we want to make sure our kids are provided with authenticity of the culture and we are grateful for STA in helping provide that. We also attended the opening ceremony and it has been excellent experience we have taken in and absorb. We have learned a lot as well and it is always great to experience the fa’aSamoa from the real Samoans here. As an elderly lady myself, I am fortunate enough to experience the fa’aSamoa again at this age. I have been gone too long that some of the things I almost forgot include the process of making of some of the Samoan food. I appreciate our time as we have gained a lot from experience here.
Fesulua'i hopes that she attends every single event set up by STA this week while she is in Samoa with her grandchildren, sister, nephews and nieces and friends.