Some say that the happiest people are not those who are getting more, but those who give more.
This aptly describes the late Augustine Fuiavailiili Fe’esago.
Nominated as one of the Samoa Observer’s People of the Year, the man who was given the nickname “Bingo King” by his children never failed to put others first.
He is one of the biggest supporters for the Samoa Observer’s “Save the Child’s Fund” which has helped many families over the years.
Survived by his wife, Margean Fe’esago, his children and grandchildren, Augustine was a hardworking person with a generous heart.
Augustine and his wife were the first bingo suppliers for Samoa and the family still runs CECE’s Bingo.
According to his wife, Mrs. Fe’esago, her late husband was never a stranger to giving. Even after just arriving to Samoa from America with little to their name in the 1990’s, her husband quickly decided to put something together for the elderly residents at Mapuifagalele.
“He (Augustine) was the type of person, who loved to give,” Mrs. Feesago said. “Especially when it came to family, his family ties were very strong. He adores his parents and respected his siblings so much.”
“He managed to work hard to take care of his family as well as my own family.”
“At the time when he was here in 1994, he decided to go and talk with his family and see if they can put together some gifts for Mapuifagalele and that’s how that started.”
“We were also supplying Mapuifagalele with bingo papers for free as well as providing donations for them. He also brought wheelchairs with walkers; he was simply defined as a giving person.”
Mrs. Feesago added her and her husband then began to give out to more people from that point onwards. From churches to different organisations, whenever people were in need, they would do their best to help.
“He continued to give to different churches,” she said.
“Not just the Catholic Church because we were Catholics, but to many different denominations; I can’t backtrack those he gave to.”
“He would donate to other organizations as well. When the Save the Child’s Fund’ came up, he decided to show much support for that as well. Whenever people ask, he would definitely give.”
“If you are straightforward with him, he will be straight with you. He would give and expect nothing in return. Even though he is now gone, we are still continuing that heart of giving that he displayed through his life.”
“That’s the way he is, people would say that he looks mean, but he is a teddy bear.”
Aside from having such a big heart, Mrs. Fe’esago also defined her husband as someone who worked extremely hard.
Moving from one business venture to another, he would let his actions do the talking.
“Augustine was a ‘go getter’,” Mrs. Fe’esago said. “If he wants something then he would work hard for it. In America, he owned a business working for utility trailers where he would fix trailers.”
“He then moved to another business where he would work on tow truck engines. After that he decided to do a business with the use of one van. He would take people to bingo and tours in Los Angeles.”
“I was working at the time to cover insurance for the family while he would work with his one van until one day he ended up with five.”
“He then moved onto a big bus where he continued to take people to bingo and other tours in L.A.”
Augustine then decided to move back to Samoa where he noticed that bingo was a hit, but bingo suppliers were non-existent.
He also noticed how people were spending a lot more than they needed to in order to get bingo supplies from American Samoa. He felt that something had to be done.
“When he decided to come back to Samoa to visit in 1988, he realized that people were buying bingo papers from American Samoa,” Mrs. Fe’esago explained.
“He enquired with his cousin about the cost of bingo papers and then found out that the cost of bingo papers were about $450 per box.”
“When he went back to America he took a chance and said ‘no, we are going back to Samoa to sell bingo papers’ which we did. We were the first bingo suppliers here and we opened our business in 1994.”
Aside from being a giver and a hard worker, Mrs. Feesago said her husband was a real thinker.
“He would always be thinking and would try his best to explore different business opportunities and from having nothing when we came over in the 1990s, he has accomplished so much.”
“He believed that you won’t be able to get anywhere in life if you don’t work hard. People fail because they give up too early. If you work hard then you will make it.”
“Whatever money he could scratch up would go towards buying a house for his family and land. He was also the best bingo man on the island.”
“My children nicknamed him the bingo king at home.”
In summing up her husband’s life, Mrs. Feesago said he was a man with all the right qualities. He would think of ideas, work hard towards achieving them, and then give out his earning to those who needed it most.
She added Augustine continued to teach those he can that when you give, never expect anything in return.
“When his sister passed away, he became the father figure for their children and they considered him their dad right up until he passed,” Mrs. Feesago said.
“So in summary, he was a hardworking man who started from scratch. He started from nothing and he showed such a big heart of giving.”
“He would never expect anything in return for his help. He loves his children and would do anything to help his children. No matter what the situation, he would help them and others.”
“He’s also very down to earth and easy to approach.”
And as we enter into 2018, Mrs. Feesago’s New Year’s message to Samoa is to always find ways to help others.
She believes that giving is an act that should come purely from the heart and without any ties or expectations of repayment.
“Our message to everyone in Samoa is that if you give, you must give from your heart,” she said.
“Never expect anything in return because you will be blessed by Jesus in ways you least expect. That’s how we work.”
“You have to give and not be stingy. The Bible says that if you give, then you will be blessed tenfold. We have that saying in Samoa where there will be days where you will struggle.”
“If you always help then you will be helped when you need it most. Always have a heart of giving. That’s what my husband would teach his children.”