“Train up a child the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
This verse from Proverbs 22 vs 6 sums up what Ropati Tanielu from the village of Patamea, Savai’i believes in.
The 25-year-old now resides in Apia for work.
Speaking to the Village Voice, he says the life in Savai’i and Upolu are different.
And while trying to adjust to the new environment in Upolu, Ropati said he will never forget where he comes from.
“I was born and raised in Savai’i in the village of Patamea,” said Ropati.
“I moved to Upolu to find a job to help out my family with all the things they need. When I first came here, I saw that life was very different here compared to Savai’i.
“I was not used to the lifestyle I saw here in Apia. It was too fast for me and there were things I didn’t like.
“I am used to the lifestyle we have in Savai’i. It’s simple and peaceful in the island. It’s not as busy as Apia.
“For us the youth in Savai’i, we mainly work on the plantation so you see boys wearing dirty clothes from the morning till evening.
“But here in Apia, most boys dress up in the morning and then roam around town and then go home on the last bus. I was shocked at first when I saw the life here.”
Ropati says he can understand why some Savai’i people get sucked in so easily.
As for him, he refuses to.
“It’s tempting sometimes you know,” he admits.
“But to me, if you stick to your values and the teachings fromyour parents, you will never change.
“In Savai’i, the culture is very strong and alive there. And the matais in the Village Council help guide the behaviour of the youths in the villages.
“But here, most of the villages around the town area don’t have village councils; therefore, they can do whatever they want.
“In the villages, no one can drink beer then go and cause drama in the village. The village council will definitely punish not only him but also his family.
“Therefore, most of us are scared to do such thing because we love our families.
“But here, the youths are free to do whatever they want to do. So for me, just because I now stay in Apia, doesn’t mean I have to act like the youths here.”
As you can tell by now, Ropati truly believes in the saying that “You can take the boy out of the island, but you can’t take the island out of the boy.”
“I am here for a purpose, and that is to work hard for my family,” he said.
“I will not let anything distract me from achieving my goal. I will stick to my values.
“I will try my best to do great things for my family.
I truly believe that if you know who you really are and if you love your family, nothing will ever change or stop you from doing anything you want for them.”