Day 4: Bliss

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The end of the Lower Sauma Ridge hike. Learn about American Samoa’s National Parks

I like hiking. I don’t care for the exercise portion. I enjoy the moments that come when the hike is complete. I enjoy the blissful sceneries. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment. I enjoy the secret pools like the one picture above at the end of a trail. I enjoy the hidden beaches. I enjoy nature. I enjoy being able to say “Oh yeah! I did that hike” followed with a story of my personal adventure.

This is why I chose this photo for Developing Your Eye’s “Bliss” challenge. Part of it was to post a caption and the link was optional. I just thought of it as an opportunity to advertise our beautiful National Parks, which truly are blissful experiences.

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Day 3: Water

My rendition of the “One Shot, Two Shot” challenge for Day 3’s theme, Water. The idea of the challenge was to take the same scene horizontally and vertically. 

Today I decided to go for a walk/jog along our sea wall specifically for this challenge. These photos do no justice to the actual view while you are running/walking along the coastline. Then again, I was using my iPhone. Can’t go wrong with iphoneography

Happy 114th Flag Day my Amerika Samoa

For over a century, my beautiful island home has been under the protection and generous hand of America.

We have experienced many blessings and benefits from being “an unincorporated and unorganized territory” of the wonderful U.S. of A. It may not seem like its a good thing being “unincorporated and unorganized”, but as a Samoan I count this as a blessing.

Taupou Manaia performing their siva ava at the opening of the Flag Day celebrations.

Taupou Manaia performing their siva ava at the opening of the Flag Day celebrations.

In the Samoan culture, land plays a very important part. The ability to keep our land even if we give up a few constitutional rights (like the right to vote for president or become a US citizen) is more valuable than being an American citizen. Why? We don’t have to struggle looking for land to build our houses or have to answer to any one else in regards to the land of our family. It’s more than just land. It holds generations and generations of family connections.

Even though we are under the United States, we have been self-governing since 1967. This gives the Samoan people the power to continue practicing our traditional values and culture. The “Faasamoa” and “Faamatai” is still very strong within American Samoa even though it is slowly adapting to the modernized Western world. We are able to hold true to our core as Samoans, which consists of God, family and respect.

My ancestors were smart when they chose to cede to America during World War I with certain limitations, which I believe was to preserve the culture, language and identity of the Samoan people.

Senate President Gaoteote Tofau Palaie said it best when made this statement,

“This day holds special meaning and significance because it honors the wisdom of our forefathers when they entrusted, the hopes and dreams of our people to the greatest country the world, the United States of America.”

Cheers my Amerika Samoa. Manuia le Aso o le Fu’a. 

Fale Samoa with the American Samoa flag

American Samoa Flag and Fale Samoa

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monument – Blunts Point

 

Blunts Point in American Samoa

Blunts Point in American Samoa

 

This naval gun is from 1941 during World War II. It is a reminder of the time when the Samoan islands were split up into the Eastern Samoan islands and the Western Samoan islands.  The Eastern Samoan islands went under America therefore receiving the name American Samoa. During that time, Tutuila was used as a training ground for the US Marines. According to  a Samoa News article, “The guns at Blunts Point are special, in that one of them is listed on the National Register of Historic Places while the other one has earned recognition as a national historic landmark.” Not bad for my small rock, Tutuila, mostly known as American Samoa. 

Even though the guns (second one not pictured) are the monuments, the view of American Samoa’s waters and beautiful landscape (like the view above) from Blunts Point is even greater than these national historic relics. If it’s not already obvious as to why I think the view is monumental, I will break it down for you. Although it’s not something made by man, I believe there’s a God who creates these beautiful scenes on a daily basis. The true author of creativity and all things monumental in this world like Mt. Everest for example. In my island, it’s Mt. Matafao. In this photo, the monument involves the beautiful blue ocean that is backed by luscious green mountains and “Fatu” the sea stack from one of my previous blog posts, which you can find by clicking Standing Strong (inspired by Fatu ma Futi). Monuments are for commemorating. Every time I see this view, I am reminded of a God full of creativity and beauty just as much as I commemorate my island’s initial journey into becoming American Samoa whenever I hike up to these tangible historic monuments.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/monument/

 

We Built This Island…

Ironically enough, I just had a conversation with a friend about why I’d choose the island life over the city life any day. I’m not a city girl. I never was nor will I think I ever will be. Some say it’s because I lived in the wrong cities, which I disagree with because I loved the places I lived. It just wasn’t enough for me to call home. I had all my wants taken care of but not all of my needs.

My island home where I lack nothing is American Samoa found in the South Pacific region. It’s small, extremely small. I love it. There are so many beautiful things about where I live. If you came to visit my little rock, you would understand why I love it so much. Unless you’re big on shopping then you would probably complain all the time because shopping here totally blows. Then again, what do you expect from island living?

Even when it's stormy, it's still a beautiful day.

Even when it’s stormy, it’s still a beautiful day.

Yes. I live in a modernized society, but my culture is still very rich and strong. Although there are many advances happening in our island, I am proud that my people still strive to hold true to the three key values of the Samoan culture: God, family, respect. These three values are my culture’s driving force. These three values are what my island, my home, my life is built on.

Bi-polar weather is not my friend here on the islands. It could be extremely sunny in the morning and totally stormy in the afternoon. You never know what you’re going to get throughout the day. I give props to our meteorologists for trying to predict our crazy weather.

One of the worst parts of island life is the craters on our roads we call "potholes"

One of the worst parts of island life is the craters on our roads we call “potholes”

 

Another part of island life I have issues with is fa’alavelaves. I applaud Samoans for always wanting to give a helping hand, but requiring so much from those who have so little is ridiculous. Sometimes I feel as if some of our people give big amounts because of pride in their family and they want to look better than others.

Don’t get me wrong, I love giving to others and helping out my family. My grandma has always told us to make sure we always take care of our family no matter what. If you know Samoan families, that doesn’t mean it stops at your siblings. Samoan families include up to third sometimes even farther generations. Anyways, my point is I feel the system is being abused and taken advantage of. It either needs to go back to what it was intended to be or taken out all together because all these faalavelaves are putting Samoans in debt.

Other than that, I love my simple island life. I may not look like an island girl, but I was born a Samoan island girl and I will most likely leave this earth as a Samoan island girl. I love my Amerika Samoa.

Props go to my cousin Jenny for taking this photo of me and my Polynesian bush hair. Check out more of her work on her Facebook page - Maniā Photography

Props go to my cousin Jenny for taking this photo of me and my Polynesian bush hair. Check out more of her work on her Facebook page – Maniā Photography

*exits singing* We built this city, we built this city on rock and roll.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/09/prompt-built-city/