"For all of us, becoming indigenous to a place means living as if your children's future mattered, to take care of the land as if our lives, both material and spiritual, depended on it." - Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
"When you realize what people call paradise...you call home."
My father, Ominae Luluali'i Aiono, was born in Fasito'outa, a village on the northwest coast of the island of Upolu in Samoa and was one of the village chief's (Mata'i) fourteen children. 2010 was the last time I visited my family's village a few months before his death.
Life in the village is simple yet full of life and surrounded by beauty. In every village there seems to be an area where the boys play rugby, people get up early to take the buses to town for work, and Sunday mornings are filled with the smell of umus (underground ovens) filled with food for after church. But Fasito'outa is special to me because it is the village of MY aiga (family). It's where my father stared out across the ocean and dreamed of a life bigger than this tiny village, but returned at the end of life to the place he always considered home.