Meet 46-year-old Daieland Fruean from the village of Lepa.
He was spotted at his home weaving fine mats which is an uncommon practice these days especially for males.
“When I took up weaving as a side hobby, people started to take it the wrong way but I don’t care,” he tells the Village Voice.
“This helps keep me going and my family happy, that’s all that matters to me. Life here in the village is all about using your time wisely.”
“We are taught to put our family first and not to always rely on other people; you can do whatever you are capable of doing to help your family out and you will develop different talents.”
But what influenced Daieland to take up such a hobby?
“With weaving fine mats it’s not a full time activity for me. I just do it to help my mother,” he says.
“My mother has become a bit frail over the years and that’s why I want to help her. At the moment I am waiting to return to work so I make the most of my time by helping out when I’m needed.”
Daieland was a teacher in the past but that changed after a car accident.
“I am a school teacher but I stopped after a car accident,” he says.
“I’m a versatile type of person and I love to learn new things and develop my skills. When I was a teacher I did a lot of arts and crafts for my students.”
“This is not my only talent; I have a wide range of talents.”
According to Daieland, everything he has learnt wasn’t taught to him, his observations became his lessons.
“One thing that saddens me is how many families in Samoa have a large number of females but they do not know basic skills like weaving,” he says.
“No one taught me the skill of weaving, I observed those who weaved before me and I tried it out; there’s nothing hard about these small cultural practices.”
“I taught myself all that I know and if there were little things I didn’t understand I would just ask for a little help but there’s nothing hard about this.”
Daieland then continued to share a message for the youth of Samoa.
“When I was working as a teacher I would tell people that the times have changed,”
“The days are gone when girls are told to go and wash dishes and the guys are told to go to the plantation. That has changed a lot.”
“There are families without any girls and what do you expect? Do you want their elderly mother to continue doing all lady chores?”
“On the other hand you have guys, we all know that they are strong but they can also do girls chores and for longer periods of time.”
Daieland then challenged the men of Samoa to step up.
“So I challenge males in Samoa; if female can do it then why can’t we do it? If our mothers can go cook and plant crops then why can’t we do what girls can do?” he says.
“Let me rephrase, if a mother can do what fathers can do then why can’t us guys do what the girls can do? We need a break in the circle.”
“We now have women in Parliament which I fully support. We are so accustomed with the strong voice of the father but I feel that a mother’s voice holds more strength but in a soft way.”
“A woman can really straighten things out and they are really tough.”
Now moving back to the fine mats, what is done with the mats when they are completed?
“We don’t really sell the fine mats that I make,” Daieland says.
“We give them out to people who really need it and it’s up to them to use their common sense to give us a little something in return; nothing is free in this world but we do try and help those in need.”
“Some people think that they can sit on their backs and others will spoon feed; but others understand that weaving is a lot of work and they will give us something small in return.”
“Other than helping others out with these fine mats, we use it for family fa’alavelave such as funerals and so on.”
Aside from weaving, Daieland prides himself on a wide variety of talents he picked up over time.
“My other talents are singing where I was once part of a band in New Zealand, I was once a bartender so I can mix any drink, I am a qualified chef, I am a dancer and I can speak many languages,” he says.
“I always try practising my talents because I don’t want to be one of those people who bury their talents. That’s another thing I challenge the youth of Samoa to do.”