At the same time, I have been reminiscing and experiencing streams of indelible memories of past celebrations flowing freely in my mind as I selectively pick out the ones that have profoundly affected and influenced my life.
As I have consistently pined, growing up as a young boy in a semi-primitive village in Samoa is an experience that I will always cherish. The simple, carefree and happy life of the time is one for which I still yearn. The nostalgia is made more striking by the fact that I now live in the most advanced and most modern country in the world. The contrast is plain and intuitive, but also bittersweet and distressful at times.
I remember the days leading up to the first week of June when families would make sure their radios were working properly. A couple of main preparations included new batteries (mostly Eveready brand) and a good wire antenna. Older batteries are usually recharged by “drying” them outside in direct sunlight. (Hence “dry cell” batteries? ...LOL!)
For better radio transmission and reception, the wire antenna is tied, stretched and pulled through tree tops, and the higher the better. It was therefore common to see these wires strung from one coconut, breadfruit or kapok tree to another. Sometimes an empty glass soft drink bottle - as an insulator - is threaded and suspended horizontally along the wire antenna. The transmission signal is enhanced as a result and the reception is better and clearer.
|the longboats (fautasi)|
Perhaps more importantly, it was during national Independence days that I initiated and found my own independence.
One year, when I was about eleven years old, and still cloistered and brooded under my parents’ and extended family’s wings in the village, I decided that I would spread my own fledgling feathers and fly into town for the celebrations. With my parents’ permission, I was both excited and apprehensive.
I also got to stay up all night, independent and unsupervised. Apia for the most part turns into a city that never sleeps during Independence days, and so those from the villages, especially young boys, would just roam the nights out. My sense of independence was also felt when crossing the busy streets when my hand was no longer held and guided by a parent or an adult.
|Samoa College Independence Commemorative Stamp|