17 August 2010

Chasing Dad

Last week on the Samoa Observer website, I read the article "Do you know this boy?" which led me to the immensley heart-warming blog Chasing Dad by a Kiwi man named Al Ronberg on his journey to visiting Samoa.  Al's father who passed away in 2000 after battling Alzheimer's disease, spent time in Samoa during the 60's, including Samoa's Independence Day.  In short, October will see Al and his family travelling to Samoa - a place that has captivated him for the longest time and a place his father adored.  Part of Al's journey to Samoa includes attempting to find a boy in a few of his father's old photographs taken in Samoa (one pictured above).

Reading Al's blog got me thinking about my own journey back to Samoa as an adult.  I had been to Samoa several times as a child, however time erased all but a few precious memories.  In my early 20's, I started talking about going back and a few years later, I finally made the move to live there, albeit a short while.  It was not till on the plane from Auckland that I fully comprehended what I was doing.  All these mixed emotions overwhelmed me as I thought of all I had left behind and the unknown that lay ahead.

That first trip back to Samoa will forever be one of the greatest experiences of my life.  To see, to smell, to touch, to taste, to feel, to hear, to breathe, to cry, to hurt, to laugh and to love in Samoa somehow helped me know myself better.  And the strengthening of the connection to my mother who is Samoan, to her parents and their parents by simply being, in a land I had yearned to be part of again, is priceless.

To Al Ronberg, I wish you well and hope you find what you are looking for.  Keep your heart and mind open and everything else will follow.

This is me - Teine 'Afakasi.