Two stories highlighted on the pages of your newspaper this week are a must read. They should inspire us all about what we can achieve through hard work, dedication and perseverance.
They are also a timely reminder to never despise humble beginnings knowing that when a seed is planted and watered constantly, it will eventually grow and flourish.
The first story we are referring to is that of 36-years-of age, Papali’i Peter Tulaga Eliesa. Published on Tuesday, he is the man with Samoa’s biggest commercial taro farm.
Inspired by another successful farmer, Ricky Westerlund, and with the help of the Minister of Public Enterprises, Lautafi Fio Purcell, who believed in Papali’i’s dream and granted him a lease to start, Papali’i has 120 acres of taro and multiplying rapidly at Fiaga.
But all this would not have been possible if he did not persevere. Papali’i said he has had to overcome a number of problems – including thieves and pigs - because he believes in what he is doing.
“I see there is a big market in taro both for export and for the local market. So I wanted to expand my plantation.” He sought to lease land for his expansion and was promptly given a challenge by Minister Lautafi.
“Prove to me that you can plant 50 acres at Fiaga within a year,” he said.
That Papali’i did. He and his workers planted day and night using floodlights.
Not long after the government granted him another 70 acres.
The rest as they say is history.
And just how well is he doing?
When he was asked, Papali’i pointed to a brand new Toyota Landcruiser.
“I bought that last week,” he said. “It is 125,000 tala.”
And what is his message for budding farmers?
“I urge everyone to believe in themselves. Anything is possible with hard work.”
The man behind the second story we want to talk about today could well have said the same thing if he was alive. We are referring to the late Herman (Magi) Westerlund, whose memory was honoured this week by his family when the newest Farmer Joe supermarket was opened at Siusega/Ululoloa.
The story of Magi is well known to most of us. From humble beginnings, he and his wife, Agamalu, are responsible for raising the Ah Liki men who have become a force in commerce in Samoa and the world.
All you have to do is look around Samoa. Businesses like Bluebird Lumber, the Samoa Commercial Bank, Lucky Foodtown, Samoa Beverage Company, Maria’s HealthCare, Ah Liki Wholesale, Ink Patch, Juliana’s Rentals, Samoa Money Finance and many more to see how successful the family has become.
But that didn’t just happen. What many people don’t know is how hard it was for Magi many years ago.
Interestingly some 50 years ago, Magi had an old Bedford truck, which he had to build a wooden cab at the back to hold vegetables from the farm. He would then deliver these into town to sell. On the side of the wooden cab, he wrote the word “Farmer.”
Many years later when his son, Taimalie Charlie, would open up his first stores, he would reference the name Farmer Joe as homage for his father.
What a wonderful story. Ululoloa was where the sons and daughters of Magi were raised and honed their business skills so that today they are what they are because of that humble beginning.
Looking around Samoa today, the late Magi would certainly be very proud of what his children have achieved. Who wouldn’t?
What’s important to remember is that when Magi planted the seed, it could have died if his children did not pick up the mantle and decided to carry on.
Thankfully they did. And the success we see today did not just happen.
It required lots and lots of hard work. It required sacrifices, tears, sweat, sleepless nights, learning new skills and working harder than ever before.
This is why these two stories published this week are a must read.
If anybody wants to be successful whether it’s in business, ministry or any other area of life, there is one certainty these stories tell us. Success is spelled w.o.r.k.
Have a pleasant weekend Samoa, God bless!