For me, “we cannot hide under the shadow of the tree”

Meet 56-year-old Tuitoga Taufao Meauli. He is a matai of Faleāpuna who stays with his wife Fa’apisa and nine children at Falefa. 

He thinks village and church contributions have made our people suffer. 

However, he believes that our customs and culture cannot be changed anymore. 

He says, “People have different perspectives and different opinions on this matter.  

“To me, we are not living in the past anymore. 

“We cannot hide in the shadow of the tree. Our culture and customs were there before we were born. It was something that was done by our ancestors. 

“It’s true that it contributes to poverty. But if you look at it, if you don’t pledge with your family, it shows that you have no love. 

“First of all, in life, if I am the head of the family and if I don’t serve my family and don’t have any contributions to the church, what’s the point?

“The truth is, faith comes from hearing. And God will only do something for you based on the things you do. And that’s the same with family and the way we live in the Samoan culture. If you don’t serve, no one will know you or remember you.”

He added that actions speak louder than words and that people will know from the things you do in life. “Like I said before, different people have different opinions. To me, if you don’t serve your family and God, there is no point of you living.”

When he was asked about how life is for him in the village compared to Apia, he replied, “I have my own testimony on this. I know you guys should know from all the places you visit for this programme, that life here in the village is not the same as the life in Apia. 

“Back here in the village, everyone has their own duties each and every day. You wake up in the morning and you go do whatever you have to do. And that’s life here in the village. Not only that, but here in the village, the plantation is the usual chore you do if you are unemployed.”

“For our family, we only have one person who is working in Apia. But the rest of us work on the plantation, tidy up our land, and prepare our houses for the different inspections we have in our village. 

“It’s the same thing every day here in the village. We all have different chores. And that’s life here in the village. And it’s different from life in Apia.” Tuitoga also added that life in the village is easygoing and that there are no challenges in the village. 

“We do have some minor challenges but that’s not a big issue for us. There is no more darkness in this day and time. 

“Most of our people are educated not like before where we used to have conflicts and arguments all the time. 

“But the best thing is, every morning, we start our day with a morning devotion to give thanks to our Heavenly Father for His guidance and protection and love.”

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