The Papalagi Guide to SIDS Conference. (Title offered by Kimo Goree).

In light of the up-coming SIDS conference, I and with the help of attendees who will be attending (gee – that was a pretty technical explanation), have come up with some basic tips, ideas, Must dos and Don’t for your visit to Samoa. This will make your SIDS experience well worth it.


  1. How to dress formal and not look stupid? ( Question submitted by Kimo Goree)

If you have a formal suit, tie, jacket and closed shoes, ….forget it.

In Samoa, the formal dress code with be an elei shirt (the brighter the better) and an ie faitaga (picture below).

If you are not sure about your ie faitaga, don’t despair, just ask any local or watch the video I’ll insert later.

Ideally, men should wear undergarments because ain’t nobody got time to see your crown jewels el’ dangling in the breeze.

This is how it should look: (Photos borrowed without permission from Samoa Observer online, thank you!)

See how that ie faitaga is tied around his beautiful waist? No? Me neither.

Or, wear whatever you brought but ideally not exposing your vajaguar or revealing your boobies., that’s more of a safety issue rather than denying women their rights.For women, you can buy a puletasi at the market or if you have $500 then get a MENA puletasi.

For all three genders, wear comfy shoes, like stilettos. Boots won’t be necessary.




2. Eating protocol (not standing up and let important people eat first) etc.

If you’re in a restaurant, no problemo….same as everywhere else, but if you are at a formal gathering and there are dignitaries or elderly important people – you let them get served first.

But don’t be too polite and wait too long because if you do so, the Samoans will get to the buffet table and take it all. So be respectful, but not slow. …find that fine line and you’ll be fine. (:

  1. What to bring and do to stay healthy

Bring your meds for diarrhea, panadols, antiseptic and most importantly, mosquito repellant. 

Bring Pepto or other type thing  for stomach dramas – be careful not to drink the tap water, because it will mean you’ll be spending your SIDS days on a Samoan toilet. 

Bring snacks that you’re familiar with to sustain yourself, it will be hot. 

Bring light clothing as well for when you’re not at the conference….to go swimming in.

Drink plenty of bottled water to stay hydrated.

  1. Basic words or phrases you need to know:

     Refer below

  1. Belongings 

While you are in Paradise, hold onto your belongings, especially electronic goods, those are especially popular in the pawn shop and among the prisoners on parole, so be vigilant but not too like, weird about it.

  1. If things are not on time, its okay – it’s called Island time for a reason.

Just relax, play some candy crush or go meet some locals. (But be safe lol!)

  1. If you have half a day or a day to kill and you want to quickly see a bit of Samoa., then – TOO BAD, you can’t do a Savaii trip, however, there are some acceptable places in Apia you can see, eg:
  • Go to Papaseea Sliding Rocks (15 minutes from the venue)
  • Palolo Deep for snorkelling (downtown past the wharf)
  • A little further away is Le Uaina Resort with kayaking and pool
  • Piula Cave Pools (1 hour away from town)
  • Go with a group or ask a staffer about cost of these places to avoid being overcharged by a taxi driver or at the entrance. 
  1. Be Kind, Be Considerate. Be a Caring Earthling.  

Be a considerate person and be appreciative of what is given to you. This is Samoa, relax and take a break, take it easy and have a Vailima.

Thousands of Samoans have worked tirelessly and unpaid to pull this off because they care and they are amazing like that. Majority of them are actually underpaid public service workers,  private sector and unpaid volunteers who have put in crazy hours to make this event a success. Be Kind. That’s All.

And if you see a person named Henry Tunupopo or Faautu Talapusi, hug a slave child there and then and give them a pat on the back., or a shot of vodka to make them know they’re amazing.

  1. Go the extra mile

If you want to make someone’s day, take some goodies with you to gift. Take eg, stationery for children, some cool tshirts, something from your country, earrings, shoes….any of those things you take for granted but will be well appreciated by people with not a lot.

You can also take a stroll to the Red Cross headquarters and give them a donation.

Something small but makes a difference for someone else.

Bonne chance.

Some words to help you along the way: 



Greetings (formal) Hello

Talofa Lava

Greetings (Informal) – ideal for a friend or a colleague

Malo! Or Malo lava!

How are you?

O a mai oe?

Blessed thank you

Manuia fa’afetai

Have a blessed day, (this is a great way to end emails instead of have a good day)..its a sincere way of wishing someone a blessed day or night

Manuia le Aso

Have a blessed Night/Evening

Manuia le Po:

I am sad

Ua ou faanoanoa

I am happy

Ua ou fiafia

I am tired

Ua ou lelava

Please do not disturb

Aua le faalavelave faamolemole



No thank you

Leai faafetai




Auoi Kafefe!

Thank you very much

Faafetai tele lava

My name is ….

O lo’u igoa o ……

Keep trying

Taumafai pea



Very good

Lelei tele

Very bad

Leaga tele

Don’t be discouraged, keep trying

Aua le fa’avaivai, taumafai pea









Can I have some money

Ska kupe

Palagi (White person)



Woman trapped in a man’s body



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