My name is Peniasi Cibaciba. I’m from Samoa. I heard about ‘Amanaki Fo’ou through friends on social media. I was a senior at BYU- Hawaii majoring in Pacific Island Studies with an emphasis in leadership, and minoring in social work and information technology. At first I joined ‘Amanaki Fo’ou so I could get credit to graduate. But when I got into it, my mindset changed. I felt so humbled and very grateful for this program because diabetes runs in my family. My mom recently passed away because of diabetes. The things I have learned through ‘Amanaki Fo’ou could have helped my mom, and now it is too late! But I have hope that I can apply these principles and the lessons I have learned, to help my people be aware of what diabetes can do to us. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through, and feel what I felt as a son towards my mom. ‘Amanaki Fo’ou has offered the opportunity for me to not only help myself be more healthy, but also to help those whom I love.
It will be a big change for Pacific Island people to change the way they eat—it is how we were raised. The food that we eat is who we are. ‘Amanaki Fo’ou presents good principles to help us live long by not abusing food and our bodies. I feel like most of the time we eat to die. But we should eat so we can meet again the next day. In other words, we love ourselves, our bodies, who we are, through our eating habits. I feel this will be hard, but I’ve seen people make changes and have a lot of success. If you want to live long, if you want to see your families longer, if you want to spend more time with your family and friends here on earth, eat healthy. Don’t give up!
Diabetes can be prevented, and there is a way out of diabetes. If we live healthy, eat the right food, and exercise daily, we will live longer, and can still spend time with our loved ones. Don’t panic! Live a healthy lifestyle, and you’ll be just fine.
About `Amanaki Fo`ou
To help train the next generation for a diabetes-free future, ‘Amanaki Fo’ou currently has an internship program at BYU-Hawaii, where the student population includes many young people from the indigenous nations of the Pacific. There, interns work with our student mentors to learn about diabetes prevention, develop leadership skills, and promote community health.
If you’d like to learn more about our internship program, click here