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Meet aiufi from Samoa!

How'd you like to live on a beautiful island in the South Pacific Ocean? Get the Samoan lowdown from Aiufi!

Hi! My name is Tagiilima, but my nickname is Aiufi--pronounced Ay-you-fi. I just finished Year 8 in school, and I'm 13 years old. My village is on the big island of Savai'i in Samoa.

I live with my mom, grandma, grandpa, auntie, uncle, older cousin, and dog. We live next to the ocean. We're always around water here--there are many natural pools in my village.

We have a primary school and a college (high school) and many churches in my village. Before school starts, we all help pick up the rubbish such as trash or leaves. Then I go to classes such as English, Maths, Samoan, Social Studies, Science, Health and P.E., and Visual Art.

Taste It!

Tropical fruits and coconuts abound in Samoa. So fruit salad--salati--is a quick and delicious dish. Make your own salati, starting with bananas, pineapple, and oranges. Then add in some tropical fruits, such as starfruit (left), papaya, kiwi, and mango. Add shredded coconut if you'd like.

Vaifala (left) is a refreshing summer drink. Blend 1 cup of fresh or canned pineapple with 1/2 cup each of coconut milk and shredded coconut. Add sugar and lemon or lime juice to taste. Yum!

We have a break to eat lunch and play outside. After school, I like to come to the library and read books. I like coming to school to learn new things and see my friends. I listen to my teacher so that I'm not punished.

I really like to play piano in my church--and to play basketball and volleyball. My mom and grandma are teaching me to weave fine mats. I like to exercise, dance, and sing.

I belong to a group for girls called GLOW (more on the next page). I like GLOW because of our leader, Lena. Shes a great teacher. We get to play games, read books, do activities, and talk about our lives in Samoa. Lena tells us about her life in America. I was lucky to go to the GLOW conference for girls from all over the island this year. I won the musical chairs activity!

My favorite Samoan foods are fish and taro, a root that's somewhat like a potato. I sometimes make palusami. I get a ripe coconut, cut the inside flesh out, and squeeze the coconut to make fresh coconut cream. Then I spoon it inside big taro leaves, wrap it into packets, and bake.

At our school, all the students mark Samoan Culture Day and English Day (to promote English speaking) by singing songs and performing dances for our families. We celebrate Independence Day on June 1--we became independent from New Zealand in 1962. White Sunday is a special day to celebrate Samoan children, with special church services and wearing white. Kids might get gifts and a chores break. My birthday and Christmas are my fave holidays.

For fun, I like to go to the beach or natural pools near my home (look left for me swimming). It's fun when Lena goes swimming with us! I like to go to Apia, the capital of Samoa, to visit my family or with our church youth group.

On the weekends, I put on my working clothes and do my chores to help my family. I pick up the rubbish, cut the grass, or make the food. After I finish with chores, I take a shower and change my clothes. Then I can go to play with my friends or go to my youth group practice. Our group does activities and performances such as one we do at Christmas. At night, I eat dinner and then watch TV with my family.

On many days, I have the responsibility for babysitting my two baby cousins. I also have to help my mum with jobs. I wash clothes and tidy the house and cook food for the family.

Girls here are generally treated the same as boys. Girls teams play the same sports as boys.

GLOW Girls

Aiufi and her friends enjoy a program--GLOW for Girls Leading Our World--that benefits thousands of girls around the world. Peace Corps volunteers like Lena offer fun activities that help girls grow self-confidence and achieve dreams. For example, girls recently set up an obstacle course and learned about success through teamwork. They did trash pickup and other community service, and journaled about inner beauty.

Ever think about joining the Peace Corps? You'd get to work with people in one of 141 countries around the world. Over 60% of volunteers are female; 18 is the minimum age. Lena's glad she became a volunteer. "I've had ups and downs and grown my emotional resiliency," she says. "I'm so grateful to build friendships I will cherish forever with Samoans like Aiufi and the girls."

When I grow up, I'd like to become a lawyer or missionary. I love my country, but my dream is to travel to a different country--maybe New Zealand or Australia. First I want to go to university and find a good job. Maybe one day I can travel to America to see Lena!

Get to Know Samoa!

Where? Halfway in between Hawaii and New Zealand

Fun sights? Beaches, rainforests, and swimming spots like this one

Gender fairness? Girls go to school, but attendance drops in high school. Women hold 10% of parliament seats, and 11% are matai (chiefs) who govern the island and tribes.

Amazing animals? The endangered Samoan flying fox loves to eat fruit and fly at dusk... You might see orangefin anemone fish while swimming... The beautiful blue-crowned lorikeet may nest in a tree or dig a burrow!

Say Some Samoan

Aiufi speaks Samoan and English. One of her fave words is "seki," meaning OK--thumbs up!

Hello: Talofa Goodbye: Tofa Thanks: Fa'afetai
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Title Annotation:GLOBAL VILLAGE
Publication:New Moon Girls
Geographic Code:8WEST
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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