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The Steps of Masa

by Toiva Niko


The Steps Of Masa
By: Toiva M. Niko
"The Steps Of Masa" by: Toiva Niko is a historical fiction moʻolelo that shows that you need to push through everything in life, the good and the bad, you're not always gonna be lucky enough to have a perfect life, so you need to make the most of it.
This moʻolelo was inspired by my papa that recently passed. My family and I have been in such a depressing state. I was originally gonna make this about my grandma(his wife), but I decided to pay tribute to my papa by telling his story. I hope people are able to learn about the legend I call my papa.
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It all started on November 22nd, 1949, Siatua and Ekepati Niko welcomed their son Masaloa Taua Niko to the world. Ekepati is number 7 out of 16 kids, all from Siatua and Masa. Siatua had a home birth with all her kids, but she had family members that were able to take care of her. Ekepati along with all his siblings were born at their Fale in Tutuila Fagaʻalu, American Sāmoa. Ekepati lived with his 15 siblings, and his parents of course, but he also lived with some of his nieces and nephews, although Ekepati’s siblings were still young some of them still had babies, so Siatua took it upon herself to take care of them, so in all Ekepati lived with 21 people other than himself. His dad was always at work, so his mom was always home taking care of the kids. His dad's work ethic was a big inspiration for him, but there were some things that were the opposite of an inspiration for him. Things like how his dad treated his mom to how he talked to Ekepati and his siblings. 

Since Ekepati was a middle child he was always treated a little differently than his other siblings. One day Ekepati is eating breakfast, and his mom comes by him and says, “ Why are you sitting down doing nothing? Get up and go cut the grass!” Ekepati as the respectful kid he is does what his mom says, he gets the knife, wraps his ie tight around his waist, and goes outside to cut the grass.

As you can tell Ekepati’s household was very strict, no one was able to just relax and do nothing. There was always something to do. Ekepati also grew up with the rule that no one has a specific chore, you just help where you can, and donʻt whine about it. Ekepati and his siblings early life consisted of getting up picking the fruits, only the ones they were gonna eat, eat the fruit, and then get to the chores. If Ekepati and his siblings finished their household chores early, or with time to spare, they were to go to the other Fales and ask if they needed help with their chores.

Being young and lazy kids, Ekepati and his siblings would eat slowly, so they wouldnʻt have to help the neighbors. Siatua would always have to yell at the kids, “ Eh! Get up! What do you think you guys are doing sitting down, taking your sweet time eating!” Siatua yells in stress. Ekepati and his siblings obviously know what will happen if they donʻt get up at that second, so they get up and do the same thing that they did eating, they slowly wash the dishes, and slowly cut the grass, etc. Growing up in a strict household Ekepati and his siblings would get physically disciplined. Ekepati had to be wise with his decisions because if not he knew what was coming. Although there were tough times in Ekepati’s childhood, he used his experiences and learned from them. 
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At the age of 18 Ekepati was named a Matai chief, and his chief name was Masaloa, he was referred as Masa though he was given the same chief name as his dad. In the year 1968 now known as Masa, some of his siblings got into a big altercation. The altercation started because Rosie was intimate with Leuʻs other half. Masa didn't like this at all, especially because Masa and his siblings all were raised to respect one another, and Masa seeing the disrespect that Leu was giving to Rosie made him very disappointed. After this big fiasco with Masaʻs sisters Masa decided that it was a sign that he needed to get out of there, so Masa decided to leave Sāmoa. Masa only spoke Sāmoan, so before he left he needed to learn at least a couple phrases in English to get his way around. Masa left for San Francisco with the help of his parents, even though they didn't want Masa to leave they knew it was the right thing to do. In San Francisco Masa met a bunch of people, and some were also Sāmoan. Masa got a job there, he was staying with family members there just for a little while. While he tried to get settled in, Masa ended up only staying in San Francisco for like a year and a half. Masa stayed so shortly, because he felt like he didn't fit in there, he felt that there was a better place for him to genuinely find himself.