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Home away from home for lonely Polynesians

PAGO PAGO, America Samoa (Samoa News, Feb. 1, 2012) — On Saturday, Aumua Amata joined in the festivities surrounding the dedication and grand opening of The South Pacific House, a large beautiful Annapolis, MD home tastefully decorated throughout with vintage Samoan and Pacific island artifacts, where young Polynesians and other Islanders "can go to get a taste of home away from home."

Said Amata, "I was privileged to be part of the ceremonies and to meet Joe Nu'u, originally from Aunu'u and a former NFL New York Jet who is largely the reason South Pacific House has become a reality, along with South Pacific House host Terenuku "Terry" Tofaeono, the son of Dr. Victor and Aano Tofaeono, and his wife Tina Purcell Tofaeono, also from American Samoa. Moreover, I was able to spend time with and get to know the Naval Academy's Polynesian football players, and it was quite a thrill."

"So, many of our young people who are attending school in the States now have a place to fellowship with other Polynesians and eat island food," said Amata.

"Oftentimes, these young islanders who venture to the eastern parts of the United Stated find themselves homesick without many places that make them feel "at home." As a result, young people give up on their dreams and head back to the South Pacific or back to the West Coast where there is a large Pacific islander population."

For the past year and a half, the South Pacific House has hosted seven Polynesian young men who are students at the Naval Academy in Annapolis and play on the Navy football team. Terry indicated that whenever they are allowed leave from the Academy, these Midshipmen come to the South Pacific House where they can feast on traditional foods from the islands as well as fellowship with other Polynesians who live in Annapolis.

Fa'alifu talo, sapasui, BBQ beef, salads, teriyaki chicken and many other delicious dishes were available in large quantities at the opening, much to the delight of the football players.

The Tofaeonos’ vision for the future of the South Pacific House is to bring young men and women from the islands "to help them dream bigger dreams". These young people may live at the South Pacific House for three months, six months, or even as long as a year to learn and grow as they experience the culture in and around the Nation's Capitol, while also learning more how to love people, love the Lord, and follow Jesus.

"We see this vision coming to life as the Lord has provided a new bigger space for the South Pacific House," said Tofaeono.

Aumua Amata concluded by saying, "This big, wonderful new house will allow them to host even more young people and also allow them to dream even bigger dreams."

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