A letter to my sister before her TED Talk

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Dearest Jody,

fotuWhen I first heard that you have been selected after a lengthy competitive process to be one of the featured TEDx Talkers in Tauranga this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised. I was surprised not because it was unexpected, but rather that you have delved so deeply into the cultural values instilled in us by  Tuisafua. You were selected to share the fagogo, an art that is so truly treasured and revered deep within the hearts and minds of every single one of our female ancestors. Your pursuit of this cultural art form is truly inspiring and no doubt brings deep pride to our mother.

This is the culmination of all those years of listening to our elders as they talk into the night, negotiating the intricacies of family fa’alavelaves, of folding, folding, running, walking, sitting and never missing a step while holding the ietoga in the early hours of the morning, in the late hours of the nights, in every conceivable location on the rugged island of Salafai. This is the culmination of our ancestors hopes for us, to continue the practice of the Fa’asamoa and to hold true to our language. This here, is us.

As you prepare for your talk and as you spiritually and physically focus on your fagogo, know that we are praying for you, a prayer that our ancestors prayed before war, a prayer of good intentions, a prayer of good will and deep meaningful hope for any warrior or chief as they face a challenge. This is you Jody, you, like many before you, like many that will follow, carrying the torch for the Fa’aSamoa and for all things Samoan.

On a more serious note, you are fucking amazing, and I am so proud of you, and this opportunity that you have pursued and will use as an avenue to create more awareness about our culture.

As someone whom you once tried to drown and whom had to eat all your guava scraps as you were the better climber in our childhood, I salute you sister, this is your moment, go forth and shine bright like a diamond 😉

You are the mother of Moelagi and Tuifiti, o lou taimi lenei.

Make use proud

Love,

Matou Uma.

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