My daughter was born between cyclones.
It was January 2013, and on our way to the hospital we passed the wreckage left by Cyclone Evan that had devastated my home island a few weeks earlier . Evan had been the worst tropical cyclone to hit Samoa in over two decades. There were huge holes in the road. Debris where houses once stood.
That night another cyclone - Cyclone Gary - was expected to make landfall. Huge clouds hung heavy in the sky, darkening by the minute.
While driving I was so scared for my baby . I thought of all the things that could go wrong. What if the hospital couldn't withstand the winds? What if I had to take refuge during my last hours of work?
When we arrived, I was taken to a bed. Then, around 1 a.m., just as the winds picked up outside, my daughter's heart rate dropped. The doctor called for the cesarean delivery just as the power was turned off.ns most of Upolu Island. As they lifted me up onto the operating table, I felt a deep fear. What if the hospital generator fails?
In what seemed like just a few minutes, I heard a voice, a little cry, as she entered the world. I cried too, out of relief that she was safe and with very healthy lungs. We called her Aoilelagi, which means cloud in the sky, in keeping with the events that happened at the time of her birth.
My story, My daughter 's story is not uncommon across the Pacific, an area that was first and most affected by climate change.
Everyone in the Pacific has a story of when the climate crisis became real to us. I have spent the last few months interviewing people for the podc seriesasts from the Guardian, An Impossible Choice, exploring the decision that Pacific communities, families and entire countries must make whether to leave or stay on their lands, and I heard the story after the 'story of when people realized climate change had hit their homes.