Fast Facts
Most of us would figure that the city with the highest concentration of Polynesians would be Honolulu.  But, would you have ever guessed that New York City would be number two.  According the the US 2000 Census that is true.  Things may have changed since then but...
Samoa Sa'o
Samoa Sa'o
Written by The Sa'o Team   

Samoa Sa'o

A gathering place for information on our islands

In progress is our effort to gather together everything you could need to keep up with what is going on in Samoa.  By Samoa we mean those who speak the Samoan language and those who don't, the Eastern and Western Islands and all the new islands like Long Island NY, Grand Island NE, the North Island NZ, any island), those who are Samoan by birth or by adoption.  Basically, anywhere you are we want to tell you about it or know about it. It has been said that language defines culture.  And so it is with the Samoan language.  We hope that our resources become useful for you and your families. 

Fa'afetai Lava


Aiga Bus
Written by Staff   

Eight things I learned on the Aiga Bus.

  • Fifty cents goes a long way – It’s amazing that you can get all the way to Tula on $0.50.  Another amazing thing is that there is someone willing to take you there.  If you are interested in seeing the island you can actually ride from Tula to Pago then from Pago to Tafuna then from Tafuna out to Poloa if you like.  It might cost you a little more than fifty cents but it is worth the ride. 

  • Music is king – Arguably, the most often played song on the busses in Samoa is “E Fasia o le Gata” by Five Star.  The extravagant sound systems in these busses makes riding a cultural experience as well as a way to get from A to B.  Sure you can pass up one of these busses and get on the R&B bus.  But if it is your first time, take the Samoan music bus. 

  • Capitalism is alive in Samoa – It is fabulous to see that a little ambition can go a long way.  The transit system is privately operated.  The drivers usually own their own bus and profits go directly to provide for their families.  There are no major government regulations to bog down the system with unnecessary bureaucracy.  The market determines the amount of busses.  I don’t think capitalism functions this well in the states.

  • It’s OK to wait for the next bus – If a bus is approaching and you see a bunch of people wearing white coats, let that bus go by and wait for the next.  Why?  Just trust me on this one.

  • No bus stop but you can stop the bus – Why people don’t wait together is an enigma.  The frequent stops to pick up passengers 30 yards apart always puzzled me.  But isn’t it convenient that you can get on wherever you want?

Fa'afetai i le Atua
Written by Staff   

Fa’afetai i le Atua

Muamua ona si’i le fa’afetai i le Atua…

(I would first like to give thanks to God…)

How often have we heard this phrase spoken or seen it written?  It prefaces letters to not only loved ones but letters that are more of an official nature.  Even public speakers will begin speeches with the phrase.  This familiar phrase reveals an insightful fact about all Samoans; they love and openly recognize the hand of God in their lives.

There was a teacher, a palagi atheist, in Samoa who expressed his irritation with his students who would hand in essays each of which began with: Muamua ona si’i le fa’afetai i le Atua…  He frequently stated that it was unnecessary and should not be included in any assignment that was to be handed in.  Alas, essays weren’t the only homework that contained this or similar phrases, there were also narratives, journal entries and more.  As you might imagine the teacher didn’t last long in Samoa.  Not that he didn’t have a valid point, but more importantly he didn’t take into account the influence of the culture of Samoa on his students, a culture that recognizes the importance of God.

The importance of God in the culture of Samoa is evident in the village.  Take for example the faife’au (minister).  Although not of the same gafa (genealogy), the minister receives similar gifts and formal greetings as the village matai (chief).  This honor is received because the faife’au is seen as a person doing chores (faife’au) for the Almighty.  Like God is to be thanked and recognized, so also are his servants thanked and recognized by Samoans.

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