Not enough attention – and praise – is directed to the role of untitled men in the villages. For Toa Samoa Lepale, of Falefa, this is sad.
“If we say that the backbone of village developments and in the country is agriculture, then we need to show respect to the people who are doing it,” he said.
“And that normally involves untitled men in the villages.”
Toa added that farming is not just the growing of crops, it is the development of agriculture and solidifying of Samoa’s export base.
Toa was working at their plantation yesterday in Saoluafata when the Village Voice caught up with him.
The 21-year-old has been a farmer his whole life.
“I grew up working on our plantation,” he said.
“I used to work overseas in government temporary work permits, but when I returned home, I decided to work on the farm.”
Toa’s father is an Assembly of God’s church minister in Falefa.
Despite being considered an adult now, Toa will always respect his father’s wishes and decision making on how he lives his life.
“If my dad wants me to stay home and work our plantation I will.”
“I always admire my father, as a leader, church minister and above all as my father.”
“I know for a fact that my parents are getting old so therefore, it is my duty to take care of them.”
Toa also recalled his experience working outside of Samoa.
“Working overseas was challenging but at the same time I earned good money from it,” he said.
“When I returned, we used some of the money to purchase some cattle so now we have a small cattle farm.”
So far, life has been good.
“Everything is ok with me and my family. However one difficult aspect we are struggling with everyday is the access road to our plantation in Saoluafata.”
“It has been like this for more than 10 years now and I don’t see any positive changes…. in fact it’s getting worse.”
Getting back to the issue of untitled men and their tautua, Toa believes people need to give them more credit for what they do.
“It’s only appropriate,” he said.
“We take our role and duties very seriously and this contributes to the welfare of society in so many ways.”