School Principal stepping into the political arena
A 53-year-old school principal, businessman and an educator of over 30 years is stepping into the political arena for the first time to fulfill his father's dream.
Dreading having to leave his profession and passion as a teacher, Le-Ati-Laufou Alofipo F. Manase is excited about his prospects in the upcoming election.
Le-Ati-Laufou is contesting the seat of Gagaemauga No.2. which he said is a challenge that his father and the matai in the village urged him to do.
He has also registered as a candidate under the banner of the ruling Human Rights Protection Party [H.R.P.P.].
"It's amazing," Le-Ati-Laufou told the Samoa Observer after registering. "Praise God, I know it's hard to do this (to become an election candidate).
"But everything went well and there was a good mood felt and preparations are going well.
"I was surprised when most of the matai in the village told me and encouraged me to run. I appreciate everything the support.
"My father who is turning 85 this month had always wanted me to become a Member of Parliament. And I am happy to fulfill his dream."
Le-Ati-Laufou is confident he will win and said "but it is all up to God" as he confirmed he has met with the incumbent M.P.
"I have also met with the current M.P. Fa'aso'otauloa Pati Taulapapa and he has given me his blessings. He will not run in the coming election, and that's why I have decided to take the challenge.
"Moreover, I have also met with the village and they have given me their blessings and have accepted my request.
"They have also expressed interest and asked me to run as an H.R.P.P. candidate. The Government has done a lot for the country and they have done a lot of development for our people."
Le-Ati-Laufou has a long list of things he wants to do for his constituency, with education topping his list.
"Education is the key to anything in this life," he said. "That's the area I want to focus on. We have good school buildings and a secure fence and everything. But we need proper and advanced facilities to make learning easier on this side of the island.
"We need to develop that area because technology is now advanced and we need to adapt to the changes to make learning fast and easier."
Nevertheless, another area he wants to improve is the lives of each individual family.
"It is important that we get back to the basics and to our roots. If we have strong family ties, and the well-being of our families, we will have stronger villages and better communities.
"There is a great need to go back to our roots, it is the foundation of everything in this life."
The School Principal for Itu-o-Tane College in Savai'i retires next year, and he is already missing the teaching profession.
"I retire next year. There should be another calling for me. I am very sad and already missing the profession.
"My heart and passion lie in the education system. I have been a teacher for more than 30 years.
"Every time I think about leaving, I get emotional and my heart breaks a little just by thinking about it. Teaching has been my passion and it was what I was destined to do."
Le-Ati-Laufou Alofipo F. Manase is from Saleaula. He also holds the titles, Leutulava and Tagaloa and is married to Tausala Tuilaepa Manase and they have five children.