Semau Fa’amau Levi from the village of Saleaula in Savaii has taken up the challenge of contesting in the national election in March.
Her inspiration for wanting to run derives from her passion and “love for the district of Gagaemauga No. 2.”
As a child of the land and someone who grew up in Saleaula, Semau believes that this the right time for her to represent her district.
“I am in the right place at the right time,” she said. “I feel like this is the right time for me to serve and help the people of my district.”
“This is my calling from God and if this is what he wants for me, then it will absolutely happen.”
Semau said she has so much pride in her village and district therefore the idea to develop and help out the village was born.
“I want my district to be moving forward and progressing,” she said. “I’ve always had a heart for helping people and a heart to be good to others ever since I was young.
“And I have so much pride in my village and where i grew up. Hence it is where I draw my desire of wanting to do great things for my people and develop my district.
She saw that being a member of parliament will help her help her people and she believes that she alone cannot develop the whole district.
“Because a member of parliament can open doors of opportunities for me and my district.
“Because even if I have a lot of money, I cannot build and fix the roads for the whole district. But I can use whatever connections I have and with the help of the government to fix the roads within the district.”
To Semau, a member of parliament plays a huge role in the development of a district. “They do not open doors for opportunities for the district, but they also bring in resources and make sure that the people use it effectively and wisely.
“Say for instance, if the government step in and help fix the roads, how can we be sure that these roads will be used wisely and effective? That’s the crucial role of a member of parliament. To motivate, encourage and make sure that every family will make good use of these roads and have their own plantations.”
The 54-year-old has a long list of plans for the district if the voters pick her as their representative.
However Semau has made agriculture and farming her top priority.
“We have a lot of uncultivated and abandoned lands,” she said. “Land is our gift from God and should make good use of it and develop it so we could earn from it.”
However, Mrs. Levi believes that the people will still be discouraged to work on their lands as long as the roads are bad.
“It’s really hard for the families in Saleaula to work on their lands because there locations of the lands are far away from where the families are.
“Most of the families have cars now but they still cannot go to their lands because of the conditions of the roads.”
She also added that if elected as a member of parliament, she will take a very close look into the development of education within the district.
“It goes without saying that education is the key to success and therefore, we should all work together to develop education within our districts and nations.”
“I will make sure that there are facilities available for the children of the district.
“Again like I said, I cannot change the world by myself, I can go and buy two computers using my own money for the school and it would still not be enough.”
She also said she will encourage the development of childhood education.
On the subject of education, she stressed out one of the main obstacles which detain the children of Savaii from reaching high level of education.
“The most difficult time for them is when they have to leave their parents and come to Apia for better education and for University.
“They will not go home to their parents and it makes them sad, the bond between parents and children is something that can never be replaced. And this issue is faced by mostly all the children from Savaii.”
When asked if she was confidence in winning the election, Semau said “it’s not a matter of winning or losing”
“I guess for the election, you’ve got to have positive thinking and confidence in yourself if you are a candidate, because we will never know that unless we see the results.
“But I am confident as a candidate and I know I’ve done some work for my district and for that I know I have the support of my district.
“And I am ready for this. And I am not doing this for myself or for my own family. This is for my district as a whole.”
She also added that “as long as you are in it for all the right reasons, then you don’t have to worry.”
Semau also confessed that she doesn’t see the other candidates who are vying for the parliamentary seat of Gagaemauga No.2 as threats.
“Everyone has the right to run for the election. Nothing can stop anyone from contesting in the election, and plus competition is good,”
She believes that having competition means that a lot of people are sharing the dream of wanting to make a change.
“That’s what election is all about, so people can choose who they think and believe is the right person to be their voice.
“Because at the end of the day, you don’t stand for yourself, you don’t stand for your own family. You are standing and representing all the families in the constituency and everyone who have given you their trust.
“Anyone can decide and say, “Oh I am the right candidate and I am confident in winning” but then it’s not up to the candidate to decide; it will be the voters.”
However, the aspiring candidate is hopeful to win.
“I feel that this is something I should do and that is why I am doing this. I believe that my service to the country will be through my service to my village and my district.
“People will never know that you have the heart to help unless you show them. Action speaks louder than words. And you will never know exactly what the people really wants if you don’t live and mingle with them.”
Mrs. Levi has been staying overseas for some times because of studies and work.
However, she said that she had never stopped serving her village and family.
“Sending money back to my families and relatives to help them out with fa’alavelaves was my service,” she said.
But, it was not enough for her, and she knew she could do more to help develop her village and district.
Remittances are good, said Semau, but it’s like “throwing them into holes because the money that we sent to our families are used for fa’alavelave.”
“But if you come back with the knowledge you gained and together with your heart and strength and live with the people, from there you will see that there is a lot of work that you can do to help them out.
“You will never know the real issues unless you communicate with the people of the district and actually live with them.”
In her final remarks, she said that she is not a fan of “promises.”
“I don’t like making promises and I don’t make promises. Because if they become broken and empty promises, then that’s just sad and disappointing.”
However, she said that she can only promise that she will stand firmly and strongly to represent her village and district.
“I will stand for the voters. I am not standing for myself, and I am going there with the intention of getting things for myself. But I promise that I stand by the voters and represent them well.”
Semau Fa’amau is from the village of Saleaula and she is married to Fepuleai Tautia Levi. Both of her parents are from the village of Saleaula.
She attended Saleaula Primary School, Leififi College and Samoa College. She then left for overseas to further her studies and she finished her tertiary education in New Zealand.
She now a chartered accountant and a recognise auditor in New Zealand and Australia.