National Geographic : 1962 Oct
"Is your advice always accepted?" I asked. "Always," he said. "Or almost always. Too bad if it's not." He fixed me with a tough stare. "We in Samoa must keep up good standards for our produce. Otherwise, how can we win respect in the world?" Next morning, after breakfast, Taua'a made me a formal speech of farewell. "We are proud of our nation," he said. "Proud of our independence. All the sons of our country have worked hard and studied well for it. May you take back the news of our pride to all the people in the world." I assured him I would. "Then God bless you and your family, sir," he concluded, and shook my hand and kissed 600 my cheek, papalagi style. Taua'a typifies Samoans who are deter mined to borrow only the best from the mod ern world, and to retain the best of what their islands offer. Another such man is Moananu loane Okesene (page 587). Okesene is the Samoan word for oxygen, and he has, in truth, been the breath of life for many of his people. I met him on the green grounds of Apia's 300-bed hospital. As skillful healers, Samoan medical practi tioners have won themselves an extraordi nary reputation throughout the South Pacific. Okesene, at 55, is perhaps the most famous of them. With only a little formal education in missionary schools, he worked in Apia Hospital as a youth. At 21 he was sent off to a medical school in Fiji for three years.