This much we know. They are the unsung heroes of many families, villages, churches and to an extent Samoa as a whole.
They are among the strongest pillars of economic stability and social harmony in this country.
Who are they?
We are referring to our relatives based all over the world who continue to open their windows and hearts and look towards their families back in Samoa.
What will we ever do without them?
The truth is that whether they are based in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Canada, U.S.A. or more popular places like New Zealand and Australia, our relatives always give back. They all know their way to the nearest Western Union or whatever form of money sending agency. They do it out of love and sense of responsibility to the motherland.
They don’t have to. They could easily go on and forget us. But they don’t.
As the festive season excitement builds, we know that many of them are here in Samoa.
For many relatives, they don’t have the chance to visit often.
Not because they don’t want to but many times it’s due to the fact that they sacrifice coming over to send their fares to their families here.
Indeed, it is fair to say that the backbone of Samoa’s economy is money or goods sent over from Samoans living overseas.
It’s the blood that keeps the veins of this economy pumping.
Everyday we see hundreds of people here queuing up at money transfer companies. It’s fascinating. That translates to millions each year, which makes a huge positive difference to the lives of our people.
The point is that it’s these remittances that keep most Samoan families afloat throughout the year.
Some would be living in extremely difficult financial situations if it weren’t for remittances. But it’s not just money.
They send food, boxes of appliances, building materials and much, much more.
There are scores of flash homes across the country and cars in Samoa today thanks to this generosity.
So at this time of the year when these people who have given so much throughout the past months come to visit us, and still spend a lot of their hard earned dollars in Samoa, it is our time to say thank you.
It is time to acknowledge their contribution to our families, churches and country. A time to repay their generosity and kindness by showing them love and hospitality while they are here with us.
It’s the least we could do for them after everything they have done for us.
One of the most special sights on these shores leading up to Christmas is the long line of people at freight companies to claim their boxes and parcels.
This week was no exception. Hundreds of elderly people lining up with anticipation to claim their boxes of goodies from families and friends overseas.
Seeing the look of joy on their faces upon receiving these boxes really warm the heart. For many of these families, these gifts from afar really make their Christmas. Those boxes represent many things: joy, kindness, sharing and most of all, love.
It has been said that once a Samoan, always a Samoan. Even if you take a Samoan away from his country, you can never take his country away from him.
Remittances are a testament to that.
But it’s more than just money.
Samoans are a “we” people. We care for each other and we are family-oriented. Which means that it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you will always open your window and look back to Samoa.
Giving and sharing is part of us because it is about love first and foremost. It is part of our sense of responsibility to our families and each other because we know where we came from and how far we have come. It is what makes us unique.
Which is precisely what this time of the year is all about. Little or much, it’s about sharing, giving and receiving with gratitude.
Have a great Thursday Samoa. God bless!