Pirate Blog — Toa Samoa

Tracking my Peace Corps Adventures in Western Samoa

Fa’amavae

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:

3 Responses to “Fa’amavae”

  1. tahine said

    Here’s my 2cents on the Samoan proverbs mentioned.’Faamagalo ma lafo i nuu le aina'(Please forgive me and throw my wronged to uninhabited islands.)
    ‘Aua e poto le tautai ae sese lana atu i ama'(Even a master fisherman can reel in his fish the wrong way)
    ‘Ia tu Ieova i lo tatau va vaelua tutusa so tatou manuia'(May Jehovah be amongst us and his blessings be divided amongst us equally)
    Well I hope I’m not misleading you hopefully a matai from Roma fou will give us more insight on this.Soifua faafetai mo galuega na e faia mo Samoa.

  2. Julie said

    The Crimson Pirate is one of the best pirate movies ever made! Here is a review on it!

    http://socyberty.com/history/the-crimson-pirate-a-fast-paced-comedy-adventure-film/

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