Poutasi, Samoa - Farewell Ceremony
We had a lovely relaxing weekend at the fale in preparation for our final three days in Samoa. Today we went to the College for our final goodbyes to all the Falealili students. We started off the day by moving around the school learning about how Samoans prepare for traditional ceremonies. This includes weaving bowls and baskets from the leaves of a coconut tree, cooking a traditional umu and other cultural foods. Following these activities, we spent interval eating a morning tea of papaya and coconut soup, fresh bread and eggs. Then it was time to change into specially made outfits ready for the farewell ceremony. The girls dressed in a red patterned dress while the boys wore a shirt and their school shorts. The teachers also rocked blue dresses and shirts. As we walked into the hall, we were welcomed by the school singing a Samoan song and ulas (a flax woven item hung around your neck like a big necklace). Everyone was feeling quite nervous and didn’t want to say goodbye! First of all, we were invited to perform our Sasa, farewell song and Nate’s guitar solo. Then each year level from Falealili performed their own item (dance or song) to us. One of the best moments was when the Year 13 boys brought us up to dance along with them. After the performances they came up and presented us with gifts from the school (lava lavas, bracelets and necklaces). Then it was time for the tear-jerking speeches… first came Mr Murray followed by their Principal. By the end of it, everybody was feeling quite emotional and dreading the final goodbye as all the students departed school. The school had already prepared another authentic lunch but most students were preoccupied with saying their last goodbyes to their friends. Some held back the tears while others failed and broke down. After many tears were shed and gifts exchanged students left.
Overall this has been a very emotional and long day for all of us but we have one more farewell to prepare for tomorrow.
By Sami and Ella