Flag Day in American Samoa


16 April 2015 | General Interest

Don Bosco in American Samoa


Don Bosco Technical Centre, Alafua, was privileged to represent Samoa at the 2015 American Samoa Flag Day celebrations. As guests of the Government of American Samoa and hosted by the family of Senator Afoa Lutu and the village of Utulei, the Don Bosco contingent participated in the numerous Flag Day celebrations including the Formal Opening of Flag Day, the March, the Siva (dancing), the Pese (singing) and the Fautasi (long-boat) race.

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Flag Day, 17 April, commemorates the formal establishment of American Samoa as a Territory of the United States in 1900. The annual event is always accompanied by a multitude of celebrations, including several formal events at which groups and villages representing all districts and islands within American Samoa gather to share and celebrate their history and heritage, especially through speeches, singing and dancing.

The staff and students of Don Bosco Technical Centre set out for American Samoa by ferry on the “Lady Naomi”. We left at midnight and arrived in Pago Pago at 8:00am after a somewhat rough but thankfully uneventful voyage. We were given an enthusiastic welcome by government dignitaries, a large media contingent, Past Pupils from American Samoa, relatives and friends of our boys from Tutuila (the main island) and a large crowd of well-wishers.

Our first task was to lift our fautasi (30 metre “long-boat”) from the ferry. This literally brought traffic on the main road to a standstill. Our boys, with the eager assistance on many locals, lifted Don Bosco 200 from the Lady Naomi and carried it nearly 500 metres to a safe location.

Then we claimed our baggage and made our way to the village of Utulei, which received us with open arms. The whole village was decorated to welcome us and celebrate our arrival. After a brief welcome and a hearty meal, everyone was ready for a rest. That evening there was a formal welcome including the traditional kava ceremony and evening prayer.

The days past swiftly as a routine of siva practice, fautasi training, morning and evening prayer, meals and recreation was established. The fautasi crew training solidly twice a day and dance practice was integrated into the daily schedule.

We had just a one week to make all the final preparations for the Fautasi (long-boat) Race and our siva (dance) and pese (singing) performance. Just one week and it seemed a very short week.