Samoa can be a beautiful place if we work together.
That’s the opinion of 43-year-old father from the village of Vailele, Sauni Ioane.
Sauni was working to beautify his village when the Village Voice approached him.
“This is our usual cleanup day to beautify our village,” Sauni said.
He said cleaning the village is one way to attract tourists to Samoa.
“To me, it is always good for us to be well-prepared and work together because we never know when tourists or relatives from overseas will visit,” he said.
“The truth is, if we keep our villages clean, our visitors will go back to their home countries with nice stories to tell to their families and friends so that they can all again visit our shores over and over.”
At Vailele, the village clean up is done every two weeks.
“To us, we don’t want to wait on others to come and do it for us, we work together because we need to keep our village clean,” he said.
“It’s something that we all need to do, not just for us but other villages in our country.”
Sauni said people need to change their mindset about keeping Samoa clean.
“E le a’oa’ia e le matapia le manaia,” he said in Samoan. It translates that he doesn’t want to tell people what to do.
However, he humbly asks them to “change their mindset – to change their beliefs upon which they base their views of ourselves and the world we’re living in.
“If we believe we can work together for the betterment of our children and their future for tomorrow...then together we can stand.
He understands that changing mindset is not easy.
“I know that changing our beliefs and mindsets is not that easy to do but we have to keep on pushing ourselves.
“Just let alone a whole range of beliefs based on negative conditions, but we need to work and focus on what is important – that is our children’s future.
“If we lack belief in ourselves our children suffer.
Looking back to the old days gives good memories.
“Personally, in my life, I really appreciate having had the opportunity to share in a wonderful time with matai and taulele’a in our village in the past years.
“I’ve grown up in this village and rolling back on my experience of growing up in the village brings back many good memories.
“This is one of those good memories - working together with all the great people like parents, siblings, relatives, matai and everyone brought me a beautiful melody with a great life lesson.
“I’ve learned a lot from them, of how to work together as one village, one family, one heart and in one soul.
“How to join hands and minds for the good of everyone, how to support each other and those good old memories from the elders and parents are still alive.
“That is the lesson that I want my children to grow up with.
“I believe setting good examples to our children of how to go on in life when they grow older is a must.”