When one of Samoa’s most important historical sites is defaced and vandalised, then you know that something is really wrong.
With the Robert Louis Stevenson grave holding so much significance in Samoa’s history as well as a vital tourist spot, one would think that sustaining it would be on everyone’s minds.
But instead, after a very long hike, instead of the tourists learning a bit of history from the message board, they are met with ugly graffiti.
“When I first saw the vandalism I got very angry,” frequent hiker, Mathew Amituanai, told Samoa Observer.
“This is part of history; it’s a historical piece of land and people are just vandalising and making it look very ugly. Seeing how these kids don’t realise the significance of this land, just really ticks me off."
“If you look on the board, it has names and it looks like a school trip because there is also a name of a school on it.
“So it’s as if they came up here, not knowing the importance of the grave and they did this. Many people are very ignorant about how important the site is.”
Matthew is also angry at the fact that this will make Samoa look bad to all the visiting tourists.
“I cannot speak for the tourists but I can definitely say that if you look at it independent of the fact if you’re a tourist or not, this just makes you angry,” he said.
“It makes you think that the people are stupid because it’s not like the tourists are doing all this damage, it’s the Samoans who are responsible."
“It makes Samoa look like a country with ignorant people; it makes Samoa look really bad. These people don’t understand how important this is for tourism.”
But what can we do to solve such an ugly problem?
“A very short term solution regarding the vandalism that is happening on the board is to get the school involved to clean it up,” Mathew said. There are names of people and a school on it so they should come back and clean this up. Get them involved with cleaning the place and then put up a sign saying ‘No Vandalism’.
“In fact, I wanted to come up and clean up the board but I don’t know where to buy the equipment but I heard they sell it at S.S.A.B.”
Aside from all the vandalism, there was also a lot of rubbish around the area and no sign of a rubbish bin.
“I have noticed a lot of rubbish in the area as well,” Mathew said.
“There are plastic bottles everywhere. There was a rubbish bin here at one point, but I don’t know where that has gone. If people come up here with water bottles then they should take them back down and put them in the rubbish."
“Keep the place clean. It’s not like it’s your house or home that you can make look ugly; this is everyone’s land so keep it beautiful.”
Mathew’s message for Samoa is to keep the place clean and beautiful for everyone to enjoy.
“A message would be to treat something like it’s yours,” he said.
“This is a very important place so you want people to come and see that it’s a wonderful piece of history.
Tourism is very important to Samoa and this is a tourist spot so we want tourists to come back to it.”