Tafesilafa'i started as an effort by the Samoan faith community to find meaning in their lives. Tafesilafa'i takes existing scaffolding (heritage, culture and language) and examines it under the lens of religious stewardship. Religious stewardship because we were neither given the choice of parents, nor the culture that we were born into. We can only suppose, through faith, that these are gifts. Our parents, nationality, language and heritage are God-given gifts. Which begs the question: what ought we to do with these gifts? Tafesilafa’i suggests that we ought to receive, develop and utilize them to improve the communities we find ourselves in.
In a nutshell, Tafesilafa'i is Culture informed by Theology. We started out with the Samoan culture, because that was all we had. Today the conversation has expanded into other Pacific Islander cultures as we continue transforming the communities we serve. What is culture? It is how we respond to the world most of the time. These collective responses make a community identifiable as a discrete and separate entity to those outside. So pervasive are these habitual responses that the vast majority of them remain unexamined and completely invisible to the community as a whole. Tafesilafa'i provides a forum with which these cultural icons and habitual responses are named, examined and enhanced in service to the community.
3 FOCUS AREAS
Annual Festival (70%)
The festival is the culmination of the work done in community. The festival provides a platform with which each community member organization brings to the malae (public square) their best. The plan is to provide a safe place where authentic displays of diversity in the Pacific Islander community are celebrated, affirmed and enhanced. Any net funding available will pass through to well deserving organizations, however, many more resources are identified on the way to the festival.
Dance & Local Rehearsals (20%)
Much of the heavy lifting in meaning making and transformation is done in small clusters where participants live. Under local leadership, each community develops its own unique and local interpretation of meaningfulness and it often flows from what really matters locally. The dance rehearsals help accomplish one of our educational goals, which is to produce sustainable and responsible leaders from the community.
Language Preservation (10%)
Preserving the various languages is a non-negotiable for Tafesilafa’i. Without this important component, we would loose our ability to contribute to the richness of our country. English provides a common medium for exchange however everyone is encouraged to speak more than one language.