Leading with an iron fist sometimes isn’t the best approach for a leader; and you will notice leadership quality right away when someone is able to bring unity to his or her people.
Le’auva’a’s village mayor, Vaifale Soe Tupa’i knows this very well and strongly believes in a united village.
A great example of the village’s unity is seen in the form of Teuila festival lights going along the village road greeting overseas visitors with a beautiful light show as they make their way to Apia.
But Vaifale says it was all done in a united effort.
“I take no credit for this project; it’s the project of the entire village,” she told the Village Voice yesterday.
“No one has been forgotten; we gathered the money together as a village and completed the project. The project cost was around $30,000 and as you can see, it was well worth it.
“That cost is separate from the electricity costs bills we pay.”
Villagers are even volunteering to pay electricity costs for the lights.
“There are families who are designated to provide the electricity for the lights,” Vaifale said.
“We have a separate power line underground for each light; it’s separate from the power from the governments light posts.
“The families who provide the power do it out of the goodness of their hearts; the village isn’t forcing anyone to do anything.”
According to Vaifale, this is what the village people want and it makes them happy.
“Samoans are proud people; these are the sort of things we love to do with our money,” she said.
“If you look at individual families, they would rather spend money on this than on good food. No matter how poor we get, we do what makes us happy, and these lights makes the villagers happy.
“Here in our village, we don’t believe in ruling with power.”
Whatever is done within the village is done in unity, even the future plans for the lights have to be discussed together and no single power rules.
“Our future plans on the subject are unknown; but that is what we discuss in our village meetings,” Vaifale said.
“As the village mayor, I don’t believe in forcing anyone to do anything. If there are times we need to clean up areas then I have a committee designated to take care of that.
“But with this project; everyone worked as a one minded entity.”
Aside from acting united, what is the actual role of the Le’auva’a village leadership?
“The village leaders have done so much for the village,” Vaifale said.
“We handle all the requests to organizations and ministries. Once we requested to S.V.S.G. and they helped out with our schools by providing chairs, tables and so on.
“Also on request, we received voluntary doctors from overseas who came and did some work on the people. We even receive gifts like blankets, pillows, clothes and more.
“We went to the Ministry of Agriculture and we received $700 which was spent on wheel barrows to help out with plantations.”