Monday, May 18, 2009

Mother's Day

For Mother's Day we were invited to Asaua Fumaono's church and to have a traditional Samoan dinner with his family afterwards. He works as an Attorney at the Attorney Generals office with Jeremy and he is the Pastor at an Assembly of God church. We were excited to go and see a Samoan Service and experience some of the wonderful culture here.

We got up and got out the door, we knew we were looking for a 3 story house with a blue roof around a curve in the road. So we pull up to a house with a blue roof, Jeremy asks the guy in the yard if this is Asaua's house and he says yes come in. SO in to the house we go and then realize this is not the right house and this guy does not really speak English. We kindly thank him and get back into the car to find the other house with a blue roof. I am mad at Jeremy at this point because of course this is all his fault and now we are late. We find the correct house and go into the church, that is connected to the house, where they sit us right up front since we are apparently special guests. Of course since this is American Samoa, and everything runs on island time, church does not start on time, we are there like 45 minutes before the service actually starts. But there is great music so we enjoy waiting for the Mothers to begin the service. It is a special day where the Mothers are running things so church can't start until they all show up.

Once the Mothers arrive they have a parade, where each ones name is read off and they are escorted down the isle by a child, grand child or husband. They are all dressed in white with hats and ulas (leis). There is a lot of singing, mostly in English and a lot of very long Samoan prayers. Several of the women get up and give their testimony, thankfully Asaua has one of his daughters come and sit with us to translate what is being said. Then they put on a few skits with dancing and singing and even costumes. At one point two of the ladies dress up like demons and they are beat up by the others. It was great, they were really good at stage falling. The crazy thing was they treated Jeremy and I like we were something special, we were the guests of honor. I know it was a sign of appreciation for coming to their church but it felt strange for both of us; as we generally try to blend into the crowd when we do not know what is happening, let alone try to draw attention to ourselves. However, Saomons simply treat guest with respect, which is nice. The oldest mother shook my hand during the parade, one lady danced in front of us and they gave me a gift in front of the entire church and I am not even a Mother. It does seem that their Mother's Day was more about being a wife than a mother, Asaua gave a sermon and it was about how the husbands should appreciate their wives.

After the lovely service we sat and talked with Asaua in his office while lunch was prepared. We went into their house and their children were preparing the food and setting the table even tough some of them were mother's too. Traditionally the older members of the family eat first then as each person is finished they leave the table for the younger family to come an eat. We sat down to a feast of fish, pork, a chicken soup, a steak dish, palusami (coconut wrapped in Taro leaf), bread fruit, taro, and rice. We both tried everything, I am not saying I am looking forward to a Samoan meal again soon but it was nice to be invited on such a holiday. After dinner we moved to the sitting area where we were served ice cream with pineapple topping. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, it was a great experience for us and helped us not to miss our Mama's so much.

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