Usoali'i Tsunami Relief Fundraising Luau
The Usoali'i Tsunami Relief Fundraising Luau on November 8, 2009 was a beautiful event for a very important cause. The money raised from the fundraiser was sent to the islands of American Samoa, Samoa, and Tonga to help rebuild after the terrible earthquake and tsunami devastated the South Pacific.
Hundreds are dead and Villages are destroyed in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga by the Tsunami
September 29, 2009
It was reported by scientists that the tsunami that devastated the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga was the result of a shallow rupture in the earth's crust. The earthquake, which was measured as high as 8.3 on the Richter scale, occurred 190 kilometers southwest of American Samoa.
Family member survivors of this deadly earthquake-triggered tsunami described to Usos Foundation founder and fellow Samoan, Gataivasa Afa Anoa`i how they watched the beautiful ocean attack and swallow up villages and lives leaving devastation, fear and heartache in its path. Hundreds are confirmed dead and homes, churches and villages were razed by the tsunami. Gataivasa Afa Anoa'i personally lost five family members.
Gataivasa Afa Anoa'i reached out to his friends, family and community and Usos-The Samoan Family Foundation, Inc. partnered with a committee of volunteers who formed the Usoali`i Tsunami Relief Fund to benefit the victims of the Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga Islands that were devastated by the September 29, 2009 Tsunami.
The Usoali`i Tsunami Relief fundraiser luau took place on Sunday, November 8, 2009 at the Recreation Center located in the City Hall building in Minneola, Florida. Friends and community gathered to support the committee's efforts.
The luau took place from 2 to 7 PM. Committee volunteers unselfishly came together to prepare a traditional Polynesian luau with an abundance of food, world-class professional Polynesian entertainers donated their services, which gave a sense of true island authenticity, fantastic prizes were raffled off, including a one-of-a-kind shirt worn by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, an autographed poster from Race To Witch Mountain, Orlando Magic courtside seats, and a money tree.
To keep with the tradition of the Polynesian culture, several family members performed the Taualuga, a beautiful dance during which the audience shows their appreciation by showering the dancer with money, all of which was donated to the tsunami relief fund.
The generosity of those who made donations and attended the fundraiser is deeply appreciated, especially in lieu of the recession that our economy is facing. The total raised from attendees and outside donations was $8,316.27. Our expenses included the food and printing costs totalling $522.57, leaving the total funds raised $7,793.70. These funds were divided equally in the amount of $2,597.90 and sent by cashier check to:
Cashier Check number one in the amount of $2,597.90 was issued to:
American Samoa Red Cross - Local Chapter
P.O. Box 2635
American Samoa 96799
Cashier Check number two in the amount of $2,597.90 was issued to:
Samoa Red Cross
P.O. Box 16167
Apia Samoa c/o Namu laulu Mauala
Cashier Check number three in the amount of $2,597.90 was issued to:
Father Seluini Akanola - Toutaimana Center
P.O. Box 1
Nukualofa, Tongan Island
On behalf of all of us involved in this fundraiser, we wish to thank everyone for their kindness and support. Special thanks to mayor David Yeager, Joe LaPolla, Kat Hiatt, and the city of Minneola for the donation of the facility hall and Niagra Water, and the donations from volunteers of decorations, leis, paper plates, desserts, chicken, two pigs, and auction items. Thanks to Mr. Gary Tolley and Bright House Networks, First Priority Printing, the Daily Commercial Newspaper, Active South Lake Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, and the News Leader. Thanks to Mr. Mike Madawi for the use of his professional sound system.
Special thanks to Congressman Faleomavaega Eni of American Samoa for his support and the DVD footage of the devastation, WWE and staff for featuring the story of the tsunami and interview with Afa "The Wild Samoan" on their Web site, Entertainers Netane Productions, Lanakila Productions, Polynesian Pacific Revue- Browns Wolfgramm Productions, Royal Hawaiian Review, Lani Wolfgramm, , Pacific Entertainers, Siva Samoa, Mikey and Jimmy- Samoan Entertainers, Rex Tiumalu, Via Tiumalu Jr., D.J. P. Mauigoa. Thanks to Orlando Dodge, Dwayne Johnson, Trent Thomas, Andy Salgado, Lamasi and Mary Chris Peremika, and Pandy and Pete Silavutiset.
Usoali'i Tsunami Relief Fund Committee Members: Gataivasa Afa Anoa'i, Lynn Anoa'i, Tovale Anoa'i, Via Tiumalu, Koki Lealaitafea, Fili Aulava, Malo Tautalatasi, Beverly Tautalatasi, Andre Glaude, Nina Tua'au-Glaude, Mike Madawi, Tonga Fifita, Wayne Fonoti, Antoinette Williams, Nia Netane, Louie Netane, and Tusi Netane.
Usos Foundation also made a donation of the amount of $2,000, sent to American Samoa immediately after the tsunami.
Courtesy of The Daily Commercial Newspaper-
'Wild Samoan' raising relief money
MILLARD K. IVES
MINNEOLA -- This week's Samoa earthquake and tsunami have hit at least one local person.
Minneola resident Afa Anoa'i, better known as half of the sibling tag wrestling team Wild Samoans, has relatives who are missing.
And two cousins are dead: a school principal and a resort owner. Anoa'i said his cousin Tui Annendale, the resort owner, is one of the island's richest women and made national news after she was swept away trying to save some children.
Anoa'i, an native of the Island of American Samoa, plans to hold a luau or some entertainment fundraiser in Minneola within the next week or so to help benefit his native land.
"The islands were hit pretty hard," said Anoa'i on Thursday afternoon, at which time about 150 people had been reported killed. "I want to reach out to the community."
Anoa'i said he planned to talk with Minneola Mayor Dave Yeager by today to discuss the event. He added he hopes to get a lot of area residents from the South Pacific involved.
He's asking local people interested in helping to make cash donations to the American Red Cross for the victims.
It wasn't clear whether Anoa'i intends on paying a visit to his homeland, but he said travel there now is practically impossible.
Anoa'i hasn't had problems keeping up with the aftermath of the magnitude 8.0-plus quake that struck off Samoa just before 2 p.m. Tuesday, EDT, before the islands were engulfed by four tsunami waves.
He's been staying in contact with family members and friends there.
"Unfortunately we are still waiting to hear more news on missing family members, hopefully good news," he said.
He said his home was especially vulnerable to tsunami waves because many of the roads are just off the ocean.
"I just can't image what happened when waves hit the islands," he said.
Anoa'i almost was in the middle of it himself. He was scheduled to return to his village in Leone a few days ago for a name ceremony with his high chief. But the ceremony got postponed to November.
Anoa'i, 66, who retired from the World Wrestling Federation in 1984, has been heavily involved in his community and continues to be active in wrestling circles. He said he hopes to put together a large, national event involving wrestlers as well as football, boxing and baseball athletes from the South Pacific to raise funds from his native land.
His nephew, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, who made a surprise appearance at a WXW Wrestling event in Minneola this past weekend, also could be one of the guests.
Anoa'i, along with his brother Sika, were known for their unorthodox behavior in and around the ring, which included communicating in unintelligible grunts and eating raw fish during interviews.
They were later joined by Anoa'i's son, Samu. The Wild Samoans were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2007.
Courtesy of wwe.com-
Afa the Wild Samoan fights for his homeland
By: Ryan Murphy
Written: October 16, 2009
WWE Hall of Famer Afa the Wild Samoan has been deeply affected by the disasters in his homeland of Samoa.
It’s not often that a man as strong and revered as Afa the Wild Samoan feels powerless. However, the recent tragedies in the Samoa Islands have had that effect on the WWE Hall of Famer.
Since late September, a string of natural disasters has devastated several countries across the Asia Pacific. Catastrophic earthquakes, tsunamis and typhoons have left thousands homeless and without food or medical supplies. The death toll has neared 2,000 across the region.
"A few minutes ago, I got a phone call from my island. We got hit with another earthquake just a little while ago," Afa told WWE.com Wednesday afternoon. "It seems like it never ends."
Nearly 200 people are feared dead due to an earthquake and a 20-foot tsunami across the Samoan Islands and Tonga, including members of Afa's extended family.
"I have three brothers still living on the island today, a bunch of cousins, aunts and uncles," Afa said. "Five of my cousins' lives were taken away, but my brothers are all okay. Thank god for that."
In addition to the tragedies in Samoa, earthquakes have claimed the lives of more than 1,100 people in Padang, Sumatra, while typhoons have killed more than 700 people in the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia.
These disasters have deeply affected the ring legend and his wife, Lynn, and they are doing everything in their power to help.
"Our first reaction when it happened was to collect items that we could ship over to the island, but we were told by Red Cross not to do that, because it's so expensive to get the items shipped," Lynn explained. "They're just asking everybody to make [monetary] donations."
In addition to working with the Red Cross, Lynn and Afa are also doing some fundraising of their own through Usos (Samoan for "brothers") Foundation.
"We’re doing a luau here in central Florida," Lynn said. "All the Polynesians in our community are coming together and we have entertainers from Sea World and Disney and Universal Studios. They're all going to perform at this event so we can sell tickets and raise money."
Afa and Lynn are also asking the WWE Universe for help with this important cause. You can do your part by visiting and offering contributions at the following Web sites:
American Red Cross
Check out the photos!