Tapagai’a Taupega is a 59-year-old matai (chief) of Lalomanu.
He stays at Lalomanu with his wife and three children.
He told the Village Voice that our government is doing an excellent job in developing our country.
“There have been a lot of improvements in terms of development in Samoa,” says Tapagai’a.
“This is a really good thing because at some point, our children from the villages will have to migrate to the urban areas after school for employment opportunities.”
He went on to say that - “We have a really good government at the moment.”
“Some people complain about the number of loans and debts our country has, but that’s because we have different parliamentarians every five years.”
“Every five years, we have the general election and different people who steps up have different plans and ideas on how to run government.
“But so far, our government is doing a fantastic job.”
He understands that people have different perspectives, hence why some complain while others are hapy with the government.
“It’s common in life, some people will complain while others are happy.”
“This is because everyone is born to be different and we have our own minds and we all think differently.” “I am not saying this because the Prime Minister is from our district.”
“It’s not that, it’s just that I have seen a lot of great developments in our country and especially with the development of the rural areas. We now have nice roads, new school buildings and others just to name the few. And we continue to see a lot of new developments and projects by the government for our country.”
Aside from the new developments in the rural areas, Tapagai’a says the lifestyle there is still the same.
“The lifestyle is same as the olden days.”
“People especially the taulele’a (young men) in the village wake early to go to their plantation and the same for the men who are still strong. Women have their own chores and duties and children goes to school.”
“Life has always been like that for us here in the villages.”
Like many other villages in Samoa, Agriculture is the main source of income for the people of Lalomanu, says Tapagai’a.
“Every family here in the village owns a plantation and our families depend on these plantations for food and for money as well.”
“In our village our village mayor and the matai’s in the village really encourage the youth and the men in the village to have plantations.
And we often have plantation inspections to make sure that every family has a plantation to help them out with not only food but also for income.”
He also believes that there is a big difference between life in the village compare to life in the village.
“In Apia, most people who don’t have jobs mostly do nothing every day.”
“They don’t have lands like we do back here in the villages. And when you don’t have a plantation in Apia, it is fine because no one will ever tell you to go and have a plantation.
“But back here in the village, the village council encourages us to go and have plantations for the benefit of our families and the whole village as well.”