Gov Togiola dedicates Faletele to future generations
History was made in American Samoa when the American Samoa Government’s traditional Samoan guest house, “Faletele” was officially opened yesterday, and dedicated to the next generations of American Samoa, according to Governor Togiola Tulafono.
Speaking to the dignitaries, guests, government officials, and members of the public, Togiola said the opening of the Faletele is a special occasion; however he also noted that he was personally saddened that the main person who had worked on getting this beautiful project underway was not present to witness the official opening.
The governor then thanked the late Secretary of Samoan Affairs Tufele Li’amatua who actually “made this dream come true”.
Togiola acknowledged the presence of Tufele’s widow, Mrs. Tofiga Tufele, who was among the dignitaries and guests at the opening. The governor also thanked Interior Department Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs Anthony M. Babauta, who came up with the funds which allowed the building of the Faletele.
He said the idea of the Fale Samoa was initially spoken of between him and then Samoan Affairs Secretary Mauga Tasi Asuega (who is now a senator) however there were no funds available for the project.
“It was Tufele’s persistence, vision and his love for the future generations, that he alone went and sought assistance from Anthony Babauta”, said the Governor.
The DOI gave $250,000 which funded the labor and building materials for the Faletele with $50,000 from the local government for the completion of the project. Togiola explained that Babauta couldn’t be there because of the Hawaiian Airlines flight delay on Sunday night.
The governor also thanked Senate President Gaoteote Palaie, House Speaker Savali Talavou Ale and members of the legislature for approving the funds which allowed the completion and beautification of the Faletele.
Attending the opening ceremony was Tonga’s Crown Prince Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi, head of the Tokelau government Aliki Kerisiano Kalolo, Tuvalu Governor-General, Iakoba Taeia Ialeli, along with US Coast Guard Captain Joanna Nunan, local government officials and Fono leaders.
The invocation was conducted by the CCCAS Atu’u Reverend Elder Pesaleli Poufa, while hymns were sung by CCCAS Vatia Choir.
The opening of the Faletele was hosted by the Office of Samoan Affairs, which conducted an ava ceremony followed by dance performances of the Lauli’i CCCAS youth.
The Police Band from Samoa performed at the dedication, as well.
The contractor for the Faletele is Catechist Faleagafulu Filipo Taua'i, who oversees the Fagaitua Catholic Parish.