2017 has truly been an amazing year for Tyrell’s Angels. Our goal last year was to improve our board as well as our admin. We recruited two amazing women who have made huge improvements in our organization. Although we have grown and accomplished a great amount we still have lots of work to do. 2018 I am promoting our “Uniting Our Islands” Campaign. The goal is to create a self-sustaining life style by utilizing our cultural practices such as farming, fishing, art, crafts, dance, social organization and many more.
I was raised in Hawaii but was not raised fa’asamoa (the Samoan way).
Growing up I didn’t have much pride in being a Samoan & at times I often felt ashamed of my culture. I was brought up in an environment where stereotypes were perpetuated more than the true meaning of being a Samoan and as a result I shielded from it all together. I graduated high school and in “stereotypical fashion” I joined the Navy. I was the only Sāmoan on my ship. I noticed that I was practically the first Samoan that a lot of people in that area have met and that I would be the everlasting impression of our people. Then I realized that I have an opportunity to change this mold of Samoans being big, cruel bullies and give our people the reputation they deserve.
While researching I realized that the stereotype was wrongfully accused and that our culture was peaceful, poetic and well respected. As I took interest in my culture I conducted more research which lead me to return back home to the beautiful islands of Sāmoa, and I was able to find myself. As I returned to the islands not only was I able to learn about my lineage but I was able to learn of the great struggles my ancestors have faced and how they were able to overcome them together. What I’ve taken from this journey back home is that success and culture go hand in hand. One of the most unforgettable lesson my cousins back home have taught me is a Samoan proverb. “O le ala i le pule o le tautua” –the path to leadership is through service. I’ve witnessed firsthand all the struggles our people go through on the islands. But what I noticed the most is that with the little they have, they live a happy life and always give back wholeheartedly. From the time they are able to walk they are taught to serve their parents, their families & their communities. It was humbling to see true service with a smile. Valuable lessons that I will cherish the rest of my life.
Reading, learning and experiencing my culture has given me the confidence I need to strive for success. I am a proud Sāmoan, Tokelauan, Tongan man who was raised on the island of Oahu. With the little Sāmoan that I know I was able to implement some of our beautiful culture to help me on this journey. From building an umu to sleeping in my faleo’o within the village to field trips to the Polynesian Cultural Center. I’m seeing cultural interest being sparked within the community. The village of Pu’uhonua O Waianae however consist of a wide variety of cultures. I am only one man and as we are told growing up “it takes a village”. I am here humbly requesting for our Pacific Island brothers and sisters to help bring back culture into our homes. I truly believe that instilling cultural values and getting back to our fundamental roots can help bring the families of Pu’uhonua a fighting chance to overcome their obstacles. Polynesians, Micronesians & Melanesians have many similar traits but we also have many small differences. These differences are very vital in the houseless community to remind them that they matter. I’ve had the honor of getting to know the beautiful people of Pu’uhonua & also the privilege to live amongst them. They are humble, hardworking, loving and caring people who are going through a rough patch.
I find beauty in all our cultures, and I believe that bringing their culture back will give them the confidence they need to become successful. We all go through hard times paying the price for Paradise but we need to remember who we are as a people. We are all strong warriors like our ancestors before us. No matter where life takes us, we should never forget who we are and where we come from.
We now face a current battle against the Homeless Crisis. It’s up to us to come together as a village because I am confident in knowing that it takes one to raise a child. Pictured below are some of the many empowering kids who reside in Pu’uhonua. In order to break this vicious cycle of poverty we need to work together. Tyrell’s Angels does not have all the answers. We need all hands on deck to come up with long term solutions and to implement them in our everyday lives. Those with no ties to the Pacific Island community are still welcomed and encouraged to join the movement. As long as you have the spirit of Aloha/Alofa we welcome you all with open arms. Please join our “Uniting Our Islands” campaign and message me with any details on how you’d like to help whether it be farming, fishing, art, crafts, dance, social organization etc . We are not necessarily asking for money but definitely your time, skills, talent and most of all love. Fa’afetai tele lava.