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Dear Editor,

I am known by most of the locals in American Samoa here at home for speaking up about what’s affecting the people of our territory. Please forgive me if I’m being disrespectful to anyone, but as a concerned resident of Tafuna, here in our Tualauta District, I am very concerned and disappointed that it seems like the following subject will not get solved until people like me make a lot of noise about this problem.

The HOPE HOUSE ROAD is a Public Access Secondary Road that was paved by the government. When Representative Larry Sanitoa was in office he helped drain this HOPE HOUSE SWAMP before by using the Public Works Vacuum Truck that cost the government $375,000.00. Why can the Vacuum Truck drain the water at the MORMON CHURCH ROAD AREA but CANNOT be utilized to suck this health hazard of filthy stinky water from the Hope House Area?

My question to the leaders of the Department of Public Works, AS- EPA, and Department of Public Health is: What are you doing about this problem? Does it need to have an epidemic happen around this area for the government leaders to act in solving this type of problem? This road is filled with swamp-like water that is turning green, with dead frogs; and it stinks because it has been like that for almost 2 years, and this was a long standing problem that needs a permanent solution.

I have posted photos of this road on social media, including Facebook, and have also brought this matter up to our Tualauta District Representative Samuel Ioka Maleisea requesting some help with this issue. I have also called and talked with a representative from the Public Works, AS-EPA Office and also discussed the issue at our Management Meeting at DOH.

My concern is this water can be a health hazard to the general public that cross this road by cars or on foot. The pedestrians cannot walk through this filthy part of the road, so they walk through the cemetery. I drive by this road every week to go to church on Sunday and have witnessed children crossing this filthy water and I have gotten out of my car and yelled at the kids to get out of the dirty water, and the poor kids then have to cross the cemetery to get to the other side.

God forgive me for thinking the way I’m thinking, but I have done some research of my own and found out from a reliable source that works at HOPE HOUSE that 5 residents were either dead this year or are currently sick at the LBJ hospital in Faga’alu. This year an old man died in April, one in May and the recent one this month of June. I just found out one is at ICU and another one just got admitted to LBJ.

What’s going on?

I am a member of the Catholic Saint Joseph Parish at Fatuoaiga, opposite the HOPE HOUSE CENTER, also in close vicinity to the HOPE HOUSE and I can smell the awful smell of the swamp from the Catechist’s residence. 

I am appealing to you government leaders, please do your duties and help our people, HOW? Fix the government roads for tax payers to have easy access to and from their locations. Help prevent our people from getting sick and dying.


Thank you and have a blessed day.


(Editor’s Note: Su’a Bartley’s claims of deaths at Hope House possibly due to the ‘swamp’ water contamination are allegations, and have not been supported by any official source, i.e. DOH, LBJ, etc. The drainage issue though is a long standing one, that not only did former Rep. Sanitoa try to address but also Rep. Florence Saulo. Both continuously appealed to the DPW, as well as to the Governor’s Office — in previous administrations as well. The bottom line, according to the government,  is the lack of a funding source to solve the problem. ra)