“KU’U LOA” Open Air Concert, New Initiative
The Governor’s Drug Control Office is rolling out it’s new Initiative for 2019 “KU’U LOA” to bring awareness and keep our young people (youth) informed of the dangers of Illicit drugs, opioids, and substance abuse for 2019. On Friday April 05, 2019 the first of four open air concerts scheduled for this year was held at the “Su’igaula o le Atuvasa in Utulei geared specifically for the youth to stay away from drugs and focus on education and other alternatives to better their life.
Maugaoali’I Sipa Anoa’i, Assistant to the Director of ASDCC said that “considering the low numbers that turned out for the concert it was indeed a tremendous success”. Our message “Ku’u Loa” was loud, clear, and profound that drugs have no place in our community. It was well attended by members of the (Fono). Tualauta Representative Honorable Samuel Ioka Meleisea, the Honorable Madam Representative Ms. Andra Samoa of Fofo district, and Swains Representative the Honorable Su’a Alex Jennings were all in attendance.
Tualauta representative Meleisea spoke at length on the affects and the growing need for all of us, our island community to work together to solve this increasing problem that is destroying lives and ruining families. He further suggested to continue to hold these activities to send the message to everyone to “KU’U LOA” the use of illicit drugs. Honorable Samoa, shared her experience and stories of the dangers of using these substance (fualaau fa’asaina) and pledge to help limit and control the drug problem in our territory. She suggested that perhaps the Governor’s Drug Control Office headed by Director Dr. Mikaele Etuale and Maugaoali’I Sipa Anoa’i would consider reaching out to the western district and the eastern district and hold the “Ku’u Loa” open air concert activities there.
One of the more memorable and heartbreaking testimonies was shared by a mother of 9 from Malaeimi. She talked about how drugs affected her family, and the wrong choices she made, “I was in and out of jail and neglected my responsibilities to my children”. Changes in my life was not easy and I couldn’t do it on my own. I’m so thankful to my good friend and big sister Fia Anoa’i and her husband for their support, they were always there to help me and my family." She said, "people addicted to drugs need help and concerned people to lean on. There are people out there who need treatment, and a rehabilitation center would be so good, if we really want to stop the use of drugs. I consider myself one of the lucky ones, I submitted to prayers and surrendered all to Jesus."
The Governor’s Drug Control Office, in partnership with the Department of Public Safety, Department of Human Social Services, and the Department of Health, all participated and made presentations on the services they provide. Startling statistics on users of substance and illegal drugs and the ages of those involved was alarming. Officer Thompson and Officer Tara of the Narcotics Division of Public Safety talked about the dangers of using Illicit drugs and the effects it has on people. “Meth” is the drug of choice out there right now, and you know the users just by their appearance “meth mouth” is one of the telltale signs of heavy users, and those that are addicted! It is a big problem and we need the entire community to pull together…. Thompson went on the say “talk to your children, make them aware, if you don’t… someone else will”.
Department of Human Social Services and the Department of Health also presented and had a booth to showcase and display the services they offer, and handouts, free t-shirts and materials were given out for people to read. Teen Challenge with Pastor Vickie and Otto Haleck was the highlight of the day provided the opening and closing prayers with a great selection of gospel music from Aua AOG, and Aoa AOG youth band. A host of local musicians and entertainers were on hand and donated their time and talent to the “Ku’u Loa” concert, Reggie Meredith, Tai Fanene, Lei Fa’amasino, Mal Lavata’i, Tia Cummings, and Jahrus Anoa’i, the youngest singer at age 11, provided a wide selection of choice music for everyone to enjoy.
Organizer of the “Ku’u Loa” concert Maugaoali’i Sipa Anoa’i said that “this is the first phase of the Ku’u Loa “Initiative” pushed out this year. Plans are in place to schedule these concerts periodically throughout the year. We are planning two for the summer months and a finale during the Thanksgiving and Holiday Seasons. The second phase of the Ku’u Loa Initiative is to focus primarily in the schools. This will afford us the opportunity to interact with the students on a one on one basis to help them gain full understanding of the dangers of drugs. Our goal is to educate and keep the awareness out there so they can make wise and informed decisions going forward.
The Governor’s Drug Control Office would like to thank our local businesses for sponsoring our efforts and coming through in a big way. 93KHJ-103FM, ALL-Star Signs, KS-Mart, Tutuila Printing, Sepp’s Paint Shop & Furniture, and GHC-Reid.