“Ta’u is the “Island in the Sun…”
“Ta’u, Manu’a is called the “Island in the Sun” because we are actually using the sun to power our island, and it’s a rare opportunity for such a small place to have,” wrote Alphina Liusamoa, a Manu’a High School student who is part of the Manu’a Storytellers, a group of young people from the Manu’a Islands who are members of the Pacific Storytellers Cooperative focused on sharing stories about their island home with the world.
In a recent publication spearheaded by PREL’s Daniel Lin, Luisamoa and four other Segaula students were given the golden opportunity to share with the world, their thoughts on Manu’a’s recent switch to solar energy.
Ta’u, Manu’a is now 98% energy efficient, using solar energy to power the island. “This is one of the biggest changes this island has ever encountered,” Luisamoa wrote. “To be able to reduce the use of diesel is a very important impact, because now we can save almost 110,000 gallons of diesel annually,” she continued.
Luisamoa had the opportunity to interview Jason Ilimaleota, a 20-year-old employee of the American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) in Manu’a who said, “People don’t really see the changes that we’ve had since the use of solar power, but it’s there.”
According to Luisamoa, one of the great impacts of using solar power is the production of clean air and a cleaner environment,.
“Clean air and a clean environment is the kind of place that is very rare to find, yet because of solar power, Ta’u, Manu’a is one of those places,” Luisamoa wrote. “I have many feelings about this project: grateful, happy, relieved, and thankful to ASPA for conducting this project, specifically here in Manu’a.”
Porotesano Liusamoa, a teacher at Faleasao Elementary School is quoted in Luisamoa’s article as saying, “Being able to breathe in clean air, and to save money doesn’t seem like a big impact to other people, but to people who live in a small remote island all their lives, this is a major turning point.”
The young author concluded, “I am not only grateful, but I feel like Ta’u, Manu’a is a very lucky island. From now on, the future of Ta’u, Manu’a’s energy is shining as bright as ever. From good people sprout good hearts to provide this project for our people. As a matter of fact, this is one of the first such projects in the Pacific.”
Luisamoa was part of a week-long workshop that was hosted by Daniel Lin, the director of the Pacific Storytellers Cooperative and a freelance photographer with ties to National Geographic.
The Pacific Storytellers Cooperative is an internet platform for place-based stories from all Pacific Islands to be shared with a global audience.
During Lin’s five-day mission with the young Segaulas, the storytellers were mentored on how to use the written word, photographs, and technology to tell their story to the world.
“Their published work is a reflection of the collective voice of their community, as well as a testament to their capacity for using everyday devices – phones, tablets, computers – as powerful tools for telling stories,” Lin said in an initial interview. “I couldn’t be prouder of this young bunch and I challenge people of all ages in American Samoa to do the same.”
Stories and photographs compiled by the Manu’a High School students have been published online and can be found at maptia.com
Submissions in all forms from Indigenous Pacific Islanders and residents, including written stories, photos, videos, and poetry, are accepted by the Cooperative.