Lutia i Puava ae mapu i Fagalele – a reflection by Taito Eddie Tuiavii
The awe-inspiring courage and skill of Pasifika warriors to navigate the rough and often unforgiving Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa, reminds us that our ability to shoulder great responsibility is an innate gift, one we’ve possessed since time immemorial.
COVID – the uninvited and unwanted guest in our midst – has changed our lives in a most unforgettable way. We’ve lost people who we love and care about. It’s changed the way we interact and communicate with each other. It’s resulted in fear, anxiety, frustration and division. It’s changed our outlook on life for better or for worse.
Lutia i Puava ae mapu i Fagalele is a proverbial expression of the Samoan people coined from experiences in sailing close to Puava Point where the sea is always rough and turbulent, before becoming calm in Fagalele Bay. Navigating tough and turbulent circumstances has become the unwelcomed norm. As challenging as this might be, there is something profoundly emboldening about recounting the experiences of our ancestors – the giants on whose shoulders our firm foundations are laid – to steer us towards the calm waters ahead.
It’s clear what the role of our ancestors, grandparents and parents has been, to lay solid foundations for future generations. What about you and me? In a time of uncertainty, a time of great unrest, what might our role be in contributing to a better tomorrow? For starters, it befalls us to press on. We must continue to be fearless and not be paralysed by fear. We must continue to dream and be visionary about the kind of future we’re striving for. After all, there is too much to gain, to lose.
We were all raised by villages of sorts, with people that provided teaching and reproof, correction and training. In my village, one figure towered above the rest as my source of strength and endless inspiration. Widowed at 45 with 14 children to care for, my grandmother’s most inspiring words to me, were: “The farther back you draw an arrow, the farther forward it will travel. No matter your circumstance in life, perspective is everything, it all begins in the mind”.
While it’s perfectly normal and quite understandable to let fear paralyse us into inaction and self-doubt, we each must cultivate a source of inspiration that we can call upon to help keep us grounded and motivated. For me, the memory of my beloved grandmother keeps me focused and steadfast, for she is the life that was and I am her legacy that is. My grandmother has planted the seeds and paved the way. Throughout the turmoil of the COVID ordeal, the memory of my grandmother – her tenacity and fearlessness – has kept me sane and focused. Through all that life has thrown my way – call them my ‘Puava Point’ – the thought of the peaceful oasis at Fagalele Bay has buoyed me and kept me pressing forward.
We all have a Fagalele Bay, a happy place that helps us press on and remain calm. What’s yours?