Tisa's Barefoot Bar
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Heal the Lagoon
Friends Around The World   |  Heal the Lagoon   |  The Barefoot Bar is Born   |  Tisa for Governor   | 
Tisa has dimensions beyond her gracious hospitality: She is a pioneer of Eco-tourism in American Samoa. Her low-impact philosophy is part of what makes the Barefoot Bar feel like paradise (or the set of Gilligan's Island). She began by building her eco-friendly bar out of driftwood and scraps she collected from around her island. Part of the charm of Tisa's is that everything is recycled. "So many people develop their land for tourism and completely ruin it in the process. I am determined to preserve my village for my customers and for my great great grandchildren". In 1985 Tisa established her village lagoon as the first marine reserve in American Samoa. The US Coast Guard gave her the nickname "The Alega Navy" for her habit of paddling her kayak out into the lagoon in the night and confiscating the catch from anyone she caught fishing illegally in her reserve. She even chased the Coast Guard out when she felt they were too close to her beloved reef. Can you imagine a petite young woman standing up to big angry Samoan fishermen and the US Armed Forces without batting an eye? You'll start to understand why Tisa is a legend. Although she was threatened and ostracized for her initial conservation efforts, her tenacity paid off. In 2000, Governor Tauese Sunia named Tisa the first recipient of the Environmental Hero of the Year Award. Inspired by her efforts, the American Samoa Government was able to attract grants and create a system for helping villages all over American Samoa protect their lagoons. Because of Tisa, there are now six protected lagoons, and the number is growing. Tisa's environmental efforts don't stop at the shore. She has been instrumental in raising anti-littering consciousness on American Samoa. "When people first saw me picking up trash along the highway, they said I'd lost my mind. But I didn't care. Nothing bothered me more than seeing trash covering our beautiful island."

Friends Around The World   |  Heal the Lagoon   |  The Barefoot Bar is Born   |  Tisa for Governor   |