Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa


Posted by Igor Popstefanija on April 15, 2011

I see that this blog has become a messageboard for people formerly connected with LFC, and that makes me very happy. Even though my time in Samoa has come to an end, I hope that this blog will remain a living testament to that experience. Samoa remains on my mind even now. This was a blog entry that had been in my head to write towards the end of my time there, but I never found the time to do it.

Here are the words to the speech I have during my farewell (fa’amavae is Samoan for farwell [lt. “to be with feet/legs”]):

O le ‘a ta’oto ia fa’amaene o tau loloto o outou paia, e le gafataulimaina e so’u leo, ‘ae avea lenei avanoa e momoli atu ai le fa’afetai i lau susuga i le tama’ita’i pule, afioga Fauolo, sui pule, faiaoga ma tama ma teine o Leulumoega Fou, i la tatou mafuaga i le lua tausaga. Fa’afetai mo la outou fesoasoani, o lo outou laufofoga fiafia, o le a’oa’oina o le fa’aSamoa, o lo outou talimalo lelei, aemaise o le gapatia ma le noonooia i mea taumafai. Ou te manatua pea Roma Fou i lou loto e le galo. A iai ni o’u sese fa’amagalo ma lafo i nu’u le ‘aina ‘aua e poto lava le tautai ae sese lana atu i ama. Alofagia e le Atua toe aso o totoe o la tatou mafutaga, se taimi fo’i tatou fa’amavae, ia tu Ieova i lo tatou va, vaelua tutusa so tatou manuia, o manu sa tatou feiloa’i ai o manu tatou te mavae ai.
I have spend the last two years of my life living here with you. Roma Fou has been my family. When I leave here a part of me will stay in Samoa, but I will also be taking a piece of Samoa back with me. I will treasure my memories of the last two years until my dying day. I am proud to have been a part of this collefe, and I will remain a Roma for life!
Ia, manuia kirisimai ma le tausaga fou. Soifua.

My fellow teacher and good friend, Faavae Neru, helped me with the Samoan parts of the speech (i.e. the majority of it). I’m gonna provide my best attempt at translation below, but if any Samoan speakers pick up on any mistakes please let me know.

I come before you with the deepest humility that I cannot hope to fully convey, but I will take this opportunity to convey to you all my sincerest thanks. To our Principal, Mrs. Fauolo, vice principal, teachers and boys and girls of Leulumoega Fou. To the fellowship of the past two years, Thank you for your help, your friendly face, your teaching of Samoan culture, your welcome attitude and for your patience in other things. I think about Roma Fou in my heart and I will never forget. If I have wronged you in any way, please forgive me and throw the hut into the village [ma lafo i nu’u le ‘aina, this is a Samoan proverb] because the master fisherman is smart enough but not the fish in his canoe [aua e poto lava le tautai ae sese lana atu i ama, another Samoan proverb]. God, treat well this day and this fellowship, because there also comes a time for farewell, [ia tu Ieova i lo tatou va, vaelua tutusa so tatou manuia… I’m not sure exactly how to translate this]. Our meeting was good, and therefore our farewell shall be good.
[English Part: see above]
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Goodbye.

I wish I could say something further about the proverbs that come up in this speech, but I am not that well versed in Samoan myths and legends. I am assuming in the fisherman proverb, that Iesu is the fisherman and I am the fish? Please if someone can help me out I would greatly appreciate it.

I really wanted to do this to show that the Samoan language is as complex and fully formed as any modern language. The difference is that their vocabulary doesn’t overlap with ours. When teaching in a modern building with computers, I notice a lot of English words that have been “samoan-ized.” However in this speech there are no borrowed words (apart from kirisimasi [Christmas] at the end). The Samoan that I mostly learned was the everyday Samoan, but Samoan oratory uses more powerful language and really is an artform. It was only towards the end that I really got to appreciate this aspect of Samoan culture.

Here are some pictures of the Fa’amavae:

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2010 in review

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on January 1, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meterā„¢ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

The average container ship can carry about 4,500 containers. This blog was viewed about 17,000 times in 2010. If each view were a shipping container, your blog would have filled about 4 fully loaded ships.


In 2010, there were 19 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 72 posts. There were 152 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 41mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was April 6th with 502 views. The most popular post that day was IMG_2376.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were diplomatt.blogspot.com, mail.yahoo.com, peacecorpsjournals.com, facebook.com, and google.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for leulumoega fou college, pirate blog toa samoa, samoa blog, toa samoa, and malua theological college.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Leulumoega Fou January 2009


Photo Tour – Malua and Saleimoa August 2009


Technology and Samoa do not mix April 2010


Champ of Champs August 2010

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Halloween, etc…

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 31, 2010

Here’s another group of pictures for you guys to mull over:

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Manono Island

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 10, 2010

With my service ramping down, I’ve got to do all those things I’ve been saving up because “I’m gonna be here for two years” and do it in the next two and a half month. Having said that, I was fortunate enough to visit Manono during the holiday weekend (In Samoa this weekend is White Sunday). Here are photos from the trip:

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Group 83

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on October 6, 2010

So group 83 arrived in Samoa, and I will now offer you exclusive pictures of them safe and sound. I’m not really feeling like writing anything, as per usual, and since I am currently on skype with the loud one and it is taking up most of my attention, I will let the pictures do the talking:

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To Sua Trench

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on September 18, 2010

On saturday I was able to strike something else off of my bucket list, the To Sua trench! Thanks to Emilie who took her friend out thereĀ and took me and summer along with them. It has been a busy couple of weeks with school starting back up and me needing to finalize student’s grades and writing exams. Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

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COS and Piula Cave Pools

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on September 18, 2010

Shortly after writing my bucket list we went to COS. COS was located at le Uaina resort, which happens to be right next to the cave pools. Although COS was mostly a waste of time, it was nice to see everyone from group 81 together again. And it also provided me a chance to get to the cave pools. Anyway, here are the pics:

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Prolonging the Magic

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on September 3, 2010

Havn’t posted in a while, so here goes. School had been really busy, but now I am on break and I’m getting a little time to relax. I’m in the final strech of my peace corps experience. Next week is our Close of Service conference, which will hopefully prepare us for after peace corps. Not only that but now is the time that group 80 leaves Samoa, which has has left me with a very nastolgic feeling as I am beginning to fully grasp that I must finally get on with my life.

First let me talk about dates. Dec. 15 is my offical close of service date. Some volunteers are applying to leave Samoa during november, but I couldn’t possibly leave before my school’s Prizegiving (american english: Graduation) which is on Dec. 2. I doubt I will leave Samoa before the 15th though, and will mostly likely not leave until just after the 18th. The next question is where to? I would like to travel a little before I go back home (Massachusetts), and this will include Japan and/or New Zealand. This would mean I would get back home end of Jan. or beginning of Feb.

After a vacation I think I need a little time to recharge and during this time I will consider exactly what my next move will be. I know what I want to continue travelling. I am considering getting a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification, and moving to another country and teaching english there. Currently Macedonia and Argentina are the highest on my list.

Another option I am considering is to extend peace corps in another country. If this turns out to be the case I will have to return to the states in Dec. and will leave for the other country when their PST starts (probably end of Jan or beginning of Feb.) Anyway, I hope this answers some people questions. Comments are welcome.

For now however I am focusing on finishing my experience in Samoa without missing anything. I havn’t fully contemplated my “bucket list” yet but some items would include:

  • Night Diving
  • Staying on Apolima Island
  • Piula Cave Pools
  • Sua Trench
  • Learning to do a siva afi (fire dance)
  • Going to Falealupo one last time
  • Fagaloa Bay
  • Going in one of the outrigger canoes

I guess that’s enough for now, I may update the list in the future. Again welcome to any suggestions. Anyway, hope all is well.

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Namu’a Island

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on August 9, 2010

This weekend was Father’s Day in Samoa. Monday is a public holiday, so for the long weekend I joined the JICA volunteers on an outing to Namu’a Island. Namu’a is a small island off the coast of Lalomanu, on Upolu’s east coast. It isn’t counted amoung Samoa’s inhabited islands, but there is a beach fale resort there. There is no electricity on the island, so I thought that it would have a more primal feeling to it. However the resort was really nice. We were able to walk up to the peak of the island (the hike was super steep) and we had a nice night under latern light. All in all an enjoyable time. Pictures below:

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Champ of Champs

Posted by Igor Popstefanija on August 8, 2010

On Friday was the champ of champs. Champ of Champs is the championship meet of track and field for Samoan secondary schools. My school finished first in the senior girls division! This also means that we are finally finished with athletics and can focus on school work for the remaining 3 weeks of the second term. Pictures follow:

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