Samoa 31 March: Nandi, Fiji - Saleimoa Village, Samoa
Welcome to Samoa
With thunderstorms prior to our departure from Nadi, Fiji the Peace Torch arrival in Samoa was delayed nearly two hours.
The team was greeted by our newest team member, Nayak Pollisar from Seattle and our brother-friend, local coordinator Falemai Futiala.
The international Peace Run team was then officially greeted by the Ministry of Sport, Education and Culture sport division, Mr Tafaese Spencer - Asst CEO Sports, Suia Petana - Sports Officer and Apelu Saua.
From the airport we drove along the gorgeous coast line, watching the sun shining through the billowing storm clouds now in the distance.
Our destination was Falemai’s village Saleimoa where the Peace Run was welcomed in the traditional Samoan way by the people of the village.
On arrival the team was welcomed with garlands of beautiful fresh flowers, before entering the pavilion to meet members of the community.
The team was garlanded, warmly greeted and the Kava ceremony began. A welcome speech in Samoan, the presentation of the kava stick to each visitor and then the ceremonial kava drink to each in turn. It was very moving and felt very significant to have the Peace Run welcomed to Samoa with such warmth and ceremony.
The Talking Chief selects the Kava Branches that have been selected for this ceremony – there will be one Kava Branch for each member of the Peace Run team.
The torch was then presented to the Matai Chief, Lance Polu Patu who passed it to the Talking Chief Polu Loto and then around the community. It was apparent from the words spoken by the Matai Chief that the message and purpose of the Peace Run resonates with these people, words of love and peace, sharing and acceptance.
Reluctantly the torch was allowed to be blown out and the team departed to have dinner generously hosted by Falemai’s family. The delicious highlight – taro with taro leaf stuffed with savoury coconut cream!