Sunday, October 20, 2013



·         Samoan children LOVE to sing. Our friend Lupe Ieramia told us that when she was a little girl sitting by her mother in church, if she wasn’t singing, her mother would pinch her. So maybe some learn to love to sing.
·        The deacons stay on the front rows after the sacrament is passed. The teachers remain at the sacrament table. They all remain there for the entire meeting.  These Aaronic Priesthood boys sing the hymns. The primary age boys find joy in singing out. They ALL sing. There is almost no horseplay during singing time. Today was the primary sacrament meeting program. Many of us wept for the beauty and truth they spoke and sang. 

·         There is an LDS father-daughter duo that performs during the lunch hour at a wonderful little café called Mari's that faces the harbor. We often have lunch there on Fridays after the temple. We are such regulars that the father acknowledges us by name when we come in. Their harmony and his guitar accompaniment is pure heaven.

·         I am often serving as greeter at the temple at the first of our shift, and as greeter, I remain there during preparation meeting. That early in the shift, the foyer is quiet and their singing can be heard. They sing accapella, men and women. The rich bass and the female harmonies carry the familiar hymns throughout the temple through the closed doors. Sometimes if there are a few patrons in the foyer, I can hear them picking up the harmony and quietly singing along.

·         Sister Latu serves as the assistant coordinator on Friday mornings with me. She is the one the Lord inspired me to ask for. On the first day we served together, while we were getting ready in the locker room, she started singing quietly, “I’ll go where you want me to go, dear Lord, I’ll be what you want  me to be.” We were the first ones there and all alone.


·         Courtesy is paramount in Samoan culture. When a young (say, 9 or 10 year old) boy answers the door, he invites you in and invites you to be seated. He excuses himself to get his parent.  We’ve even had one 8 year old bring us a drink of water. They are taught courtesy at a young age.

·         If the food is being served to you, the men are served first. (Chiefs) All men are given that respect.

·         Because we are guests in their country, the sisters at the temple don’t like to let me wash my own cup or clean up after anyone else in the kitchen, or serve them. I have a hard time with that and sometimes just do it anyway and make a joke of it. They are learning to accept me and laugh at my antics.

·         One never walks in front of another person w/o saying ‘tulo’, meaning ‘excuse me’. You bend slightly so as to indicate respect while walking in front of others.

j     The common greeting is a hand clasp and a kiss on the cheek, or just pressing your cheek against theirs while clasping hands.
      Samoans always smile at you, whether stranger or friend.


·         It’s very important to provide plenty of food.  You are expected to eat some of everything offered.

·         I’ve got a bit of a tummy like I’ve never had before and the sisters seem to think that is a very good thing.
·         I have scored lots of points by really enjoying cocosamoa. It has raised my status in their eyes considerably.
·         I’m not kidding. I really love cocosamoa. I’ve learned how to make it and I always have it on hand. Last week two sisters, independent of each other brought me cocosamoa from their own plantations. Both said it’s the best. I’m not a connoisseur yet. I buy it off of every little kid I see. But according to these sisters, I’m about to experience what real, freshly roasted cocosamoa tastes like.

·         I have also learned to make supoese (papaya soup – it’s really a drink, not a soup). And I make pretty good sapasui (chop suey faasamoa style).

·         This is kind of, well, personal. I wonder if there is a special blessing on missionary food. Because the simple meals we fix at home taste so good. Honestly, I think to myself as I’m eating, ‘Did food ever taste this good?”

·         There is a little grocery/bakery near us that has the reputation of making the best bread in town. The sign on the front says Maryons, but everyone calls the store Siosi’s. Don’t ask. We don’t know why. When we learned that they sell their bread dough, we became regular customers. From it we make bread, rolls, and scones. Mighty good.  They also sell these giant rolls that are baked in a pan of coconut cream. Yeah, they’re good.

The How-To Portion of this blog.
This is how it is sold: wrapped in plastic wrap and sold in a styrofoam cup
My hero grates it into a bowl.
I measure it and put it in this sauce pan with this sugar that is less processed than white sugar.
Add boiling water and bring back to a boil on medium heat.
Simmer for awhile, maybe an hour.
It's very good. Especially if you like dark chocolate. It's even good chilled. Tastes like a fudge bar.

This is how you make Supoese.
Cut ripe papaya in half lengthwise. The small bowl you see on the far right is tapioca, covered with water.
Scrape out the seeds and discard.
Scrape the fruit into a bowl or pan.
Cover with hot water and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, stirring often.
Add the soaked (therefore softened) tapioca, and stir until tapioca becomes clear.
Add coconut cream and stir. It pours from a can, but when refridgerated, it thickens, as pictured.
Continue to stir until well blended. It can be enjoyed warm or chilled.
Depending on the amount of tapioca added, it can be a drink or a pudding.

The sapasui how-to will have to wait until another blog.

So now you know why I have more of a tummy than ever before. Probably the most important observation.

Tofa Soifua ma manuia le aso.


  1. I love reading your blog posts. It is amazing how much more real it all is to me after having eaten all these foods, seeing the wonderful saints at church and in the temple, listening to your friends at the cafe on a Friday during lunch. And, this was a good reminder, I had completely forgotten that I brought home some cocosamoa! I think maybe I'll make it during Thanksgiving when all the family is here. Maybe I'll find a papaya and make some supoese too, that is some good stuff!

    1. Oh, do it, James. And let me know if they like it. Yes, we are so happy to have shared this time and these experiences with you. Thank you for coming.,