Family is where life begins and love never ends.
The Tuilaepa Family reunion was underway last week as the descendants of Tuilaepa Sio and Kolopa Kaigago from the villages of Falefa, Leififi and Sapapalii came together for their inaugural family reunion.
Five generations of the late Tuilaepa Sio and Kolopa Kaigago travelled from the United States, Australia and New Zealand during the Easter break to Samoa and for the newer generations – it would be their first time setting foot on their ancestral homeland.
After three years of planning, changes and setbacks, the family members finally managed to pull off the family reunion they had been envisioning for many years. According to Tuilaepa Maloafua Taliga Tuilaepa, the reunion was in a way to honour the tradition his parents have kept for generations and he would like to see them passed down to his children as well as his many nieces and nephews.
“Our parents were very loving and caring towards each other and they always got together when they could to make sure the bond within the Tuilaepa families stayed strong and we the second generation wanted to continue strengthening that family bond.”
For Tuilaepa, it was particularly heartwarming to see the younger generation of the Tuilaepa family on Samoan soil for the first time. For the younger members of their family setting eyes on Samoa for the first time, it has been an eye opener and a time to appreciate the sacrifice and hard work of their parents and grandparents.”
“The families that travelled back to the homeland for the Tuilaepa reunion were very excited to be part of the very first Tuilaepa reunion, especially the people who have never been in Samoa,” Tuilaepa said.
“Most of our second generation families have already been in Samoa, it was mainly our third generation that experienced Samoa for the first time in this reunion and the feedback is that they love Samoa and would definitely return for the next reunion or holiday.”
“The new generation has an understanding of the life and struggles that our parents endured in their time, it was a blessing that they were able to provide a future for the next generations. This is why we are having a reunion to honour our parents and their sacrifices to improve the future of our families.”
The Tuilaepa family reunion wrapped up on Saturday evening after five full on days of activities and presentations where the family got to know each other and see more of Samoa.
Tuilaepa said he was very pleased that their reunion was a success. As a Matai of their family, he was satisfied that they had accomplished their core mission to strengthen their family values as well as instilling in the younger generation a deep sense of belonging to their ancestral home.
“This reunion has brought our families closer than before, especially our families from U.S.A. as we have had minimal contact with our U.S.A. families. The reunion, connection and bond we have made are priceless.”