“Fagasa Worships God Not Fautasi”
“I have heard these words being said many times as fautasi race gets closer and closer,” preached Fagasa’s Rev. Etitoa Sopo’aga of the EFKS during the dedication of the village’s new fautasi, the Fealofani Samoa lll last Saturday in Pago Pago under heavy downpour and strong winds.
“It is often said that the fautasi is Fagasa’s Tupua. It is their God. Let me set the record straight. Fagasa is a simple and humble village. Our village believes in one God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Fagasa worships God not the Fautasi,” Rev, reiterated.
“We prayed for this project to end in a high note. Everyone from the youngest to the oldest in our village begged for God’s blessings. This project has come to a successful conclusion through God’s guidance. It will also serve as a “philosophy of the beginnings” for our young people that anything with God’s presence can be accomplished with heart, soul, and courage. This is a great lesson for them,” pastor Sopo’aga reminded.
The ceremony was cut short as rain and strong winds interrupted the proceeding but not before Fagasa’s Catholic parish priest, Setefano Tuisealemanu blessed the entire Fealofani Samoa lll fautasi with Holy Water.
The village quickly moved distinguished guests that included Governor Togiola Tulafono inside the boat shed where they were served lunch and presented with traditional gifts of ie toga and pusa pisupo.
Newly appointed skipper, Tupuola Sopo’aga and his crew had hoped to put their fautasi on the water last Saturday but that plan was quashed because of poor weather.
The boat cost the village of Fagasa $400,000, according to skipper Sopo’aga. The fautasi expenses included the building of the boat shed ($50,000) boat builder Liam Power’s contractual services ($56,000) and other items like oars and high tech materials imported from overseas.
“The village raised funds by holding raffles, bingos, and donations from sons and daughters in the United States,” explained captain, Sopo’aga.
The Fealofani Samoa lll was built in less than two months and is 105 feet long. “It is similar to our fautasi that was destroyed by the tsunami. But this one is powered by 40 rowers,” added Sopo’aga. The old one had a crew of 46.
One of Fagasa’s favorite and popular sons, the 49ers’ starting nose tackle, Isaac Sopo’aga flew to American Samoa last Thursday with his wife, Tumua to attend the dedication of the Fealofani Samoa lll. They left Sunday night. An interview with him will be published this week.
A full report on the boat and the Fagasa preparations for the 2012 Flag Day race will appear in the Samoa News Sports GHC Reid sponsored fautasi coverage that will start on Saturday, March 31.