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Samoans abroad pray for family back home

Samoans abroad pray for family back home

AP Photo
Aitofi Muaina, left, hugs Aina Lualemaga as they arrive for a prayer service in Carson, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 for the victims of earthquake and tsunami that hit the Samoas.

CARSON, Calif. — Scores from California's Samoan community - many with traditional white flowers in their hair and clutching woven fans - gathered in church Thursday to pray for family members in tsunami-ravaged Samoa - some still waiting to hear from them.

In the sweltering Samoan Congregational Christian Church in Carson, Calif., roughly 200 people joined in a special twilight service in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that have left at least 160 dead.

Lusi Timai, 44, has been trying to reach her aunts and cousins in American Samoa since the tsunami hit Tuesday but can't get through.

"We just pray... we just come here to pray for them," she said, clutching the cell phone she's been using to call.

The urban sprawl south of Los Angeles is a hub for the Samoan community and ground zero for coordination of relief efforts that local community leaders are getting underway.

About 40 percent of the country's 72,000 Samoans live in California, according to data from the 2008 American Community Survey.

In the hours since the tsunami, local community leaders have fielded a stream of calls from Samoans frantically trying to reach their relatives. They also formed a network of clergy, community leaders and non-profits to harnass and transport donations of canned food, water, tarps and other necessities to the affected regions.

Outside the church on Thursday, local politicians offered to do what they could to help the communities in American Samoa and Samoa. Inside, the faithful belted out spiritual Christian songs to a band's music and batted themselves with fans to stay cool.

Aitofi Muaina, 62, came to pray for her 94-year old aunt who holed up on the second floor of her house in American Samoa while the ocean waters rushed in below.

"She's alive. It's all that counts," said Muaina, who traveled from Las Vegas for the service. "It's a miracle."

3 comments (Add your own)

1. Nazrulsalam wrote:
diz vid here is an epmlxae of my pride your pride our pride like polamalu jersey i think its tight to all da uso'z out there keep it real

Mon, February 20, 2012 @ 11:12 PM

2. vcoztfnxc wrote:
1KlJgv nejzdfoumruo

Tue, February 28, 2012 @ 1:11 PM

3. Krish wrote:
Peter FualaauMay 6, 2012I don't deny that there is corruption. We all see it and some of us acltulay address the issues as they present themselves. I'm all for being a voice for those less fortunate. But your aggression is misdirected. You attack the culture, then turn around and say that it is the leaders. Culture is something that we all live. We all are not the problem. The corrupt leaders are. You make the entire race of Samoans look like ignorant, barbaric savages and our less fortunate suffer at the mercy of your blogs for the sins of a few. Those who hold the culture dear and sacred to their hearts have no voice in your blog to tell you how hurt they are from your words and the reputation of an entire people that you continue to soil publicly and on a global scale.You should also consider your source and their gross exaggerations of the truth before posting it online. I'm deeply appalled at some of the lies being posted in this particular article. Being excommunicated for not giving to the church? That's a lie. Walking from village to village for water? Another lie. You are in direct violation of Article I a7 4 of the American Samoa Constitution of which you tend to hide behind. Reconsider your stance and seek more reliable sources. Because your attacks on our people and culture and not justified .

Sun, December 9, 2012 @ 5:45 PM

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