World’s Preteen Miss Tourism 2018, Teuila Desiree Lafi, arrived in Samoa yesterday.
In 2017, the 10-year-old rocked the stage at Nashville, Tennessee, taking the crown home.
Despite being raised in Hawaii, the young lady carries her Samoan culture with pride.
She is the eldest daughter of Ieremia Lincolnson Lafi and Heather Marie Lafi, from the villages of Saleapaga Lepa, Avao Savai’i and Vaitele-Fou.
Coming back to the motherland for her is exciting and a good opportunity to learn more about her people. Her father is from Samoa.
“I have so many cultures in my blood, so I just want to find more so I can identify myself and probably other people as well. I am part Samoan, Caucasian, Swedish, my dad thinks he is German and I can’t remember the rest."
“My dad is basically a part of me. You know that they always say that the mother is a part of her children; well my dad is also a very big part of me. He is the one around me actually and I want to thank him for what he did and if not for him, I probably would not be here today."
“In Samoa we are going to visit my grandmother in Vaitele-Fou and that is going to be very exciting because my dad told me that he grew up there and it is going to be mind-blowing,” she said.
Teuila believes it is not just about having a crown and a sash but also brings forth responsibilities that she is also willing to offer her country.
“I think there are a lot of things I could do here in Samoa. But one of the things I would like to do is hand down, like the things I do not use anymore to give them to the homeless."
“We want to visit a homeless shelter and we are going to give them things because it is kind of hard to find things that are cheap here for them. So I really just want to help in all the ways I can here in Samoa."
“It is kind of a vacation this trip to Samoa, but we also going to do a lot of community services, it is going to be very interesting because I have never seen other countries, I never really did community services in other places.”
There is uniqueness within the culture that regardless of where she would be in the world, Samoa will always be where the heart is.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, she shared her role of being a World’s Preteen Miss Tourism.
“Every single pageant winner that has a title has a platform. My platform is operation Christmas Child - that is an operation that sends shoe boxes to several countries like Samoa and the Philippines."
“I think last time they went to Tonga for the little kids who never get Christmas presents ever in their life. So last year, I went to my school and I asked every class if they could donate boxes and we came over with more than 20 boxes, it is pretty good for a start.”
Teuila explained: “I think community work is the thing that helps everyone to realise that there is more than just wealth and other things that we can do, you can help other people and operations so this world would be a better place,” she said.
She is in Samoa for 10 days with her younger brother, Ieremia Michael Lafi and their father.