Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Saleilua Stake

One of our first scheduled trainings for this trip to Samoa was to Saleilua Stake.  We went over to the Ah Hoy’s home to pick them up and then headed over the mountain.The rain poured down in sheets as we dove, obscuring most of the view.  Still, though the steaming wet we could make out the beauty we remembered.

Saleilua Stake had been our very first training in Samoa back when we arrived in February 2015, just two months after our mission had begun.  President Kofe and some of the other council members present remembered us from before and welcomed us warmly.   We felt the training went very well.

As always, our two favorite things about the training was listening to the group sing and the feelings expressed in the room when we did the exercise of telling family stories.  These are such special experiences.  I hope I will always remember the feelings that were there this day.

President & Sister Kofe

Saleilua Stake leaders at training
 After our presentation we were served a delicious lunch of chicken, fish and curry soup.  Even the taro they served was better than usual, having been boiled in coconut milk rather than baked. However, knowing that stuff is VERY high in calories I took only a small portion.  I always strive to accept the hospitality we are offered out of respect for our hosts, while still trying to balance making best choices for my own health – a constant battle.

Our lovely meal

We visited with the leaders while we ate and then headed on back across the mountain to return to campus.  On the way we passed people who were busy gathering Nonu, a tree fruit that is believed to have medicinal properties.  It is exported to several other countries where it is processed into “Noni Juice” or various dietary supplements. We were reminded of how blessed Samoa is by having such a rich abundance of foods and healing plants that grow there.

 We also passed the place where there is a protected bay with an opening to the sea.  This is where the Ah Hoys told us the legend of Alo, the man who was swallowed by a large fish (canoe and all!) and then began cutting the fish from the inside.  He was ultimately rescued when the villagers captured the fish and cut it open.  We were reminded all over again of the power of stories for the Samoan people.  We want to incorporate that love of stories into our trainings as we encourage them to share their own family tales.

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