So many changes in Samoa

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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SPOTTING OUT THE CHANGES IN SAMOA: Muliava Aleni Maota, 95-year-old from Tafatafa.

SPOTTING OUT THE CHANGES IN SAMOA: Muliava Aleni Maota, 95-year-old from Tafatafa. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Changes occur from time to time and history tells of how societies evolve over time. But some may not notice the changes. 

However, when you live up to more than ninety-years-old, spotting out the changes in societies is a piece of cake for you. 

And that is so true about 95-year-old Muliava Aleni Maota. 

He is a matai of Tafatafa, Falealili who resides with his wife Fiapa’ipa’i Aleni at Tafatafa and they don’t have children.  

He thinks that there are a lot of changes in Samoa today, socially, culturally and politically. 

The lifestyle is not the same anymore, he says.  

“It has changed from time to time.” 

“People used to live according to the customs and culture. Members of the family used to go the matai (chief) and he (matai) will assign them to do different duties and chores in the family. One will be assigned to go fishing, one will work the land and one will be in charge of the kitchen. These were the things we used to do back then. Even if we had different houses, the whole extended family had one kitchen. But it’s not the same anymore.” 

“But we have a different lifestyle right now.” 

“Each couple has their own house and they do whatever they want. If they want to roast a pig, they will do it and if they want to kill a cow, they do it as well without informing and asking the matai first.”

“The matai is not served food first like it used to be. Nowadays, they eat as they please. They bring food to the matai every fortnight now or in some cases, they don’t give the matai any food anymore.”

“It’s not the same anymore.”

Muliava says the same problem is happening to his family.  

“Even though we have a lot of relatives here, my wife is responsible for doing everything in our family and the money from the old people’s pension what we rely on.” 

“The country is not the same compared to how it was before. Apia is okay, but these things are happening in the villages.”

However, he believes that this is happening not only to his family.  

“Other families are like that as well,” says Muliava.

“No family has a strong foundation like it used to be. Other families live together but they have their own kitchens and cook their own food. It’s the same for our family as well. My wife prepares our own food and boils our own tea. Sometimes we don’t have any.”

He went on to say that life is very tough for him and his wife. 

“It’s very tough,” he says. 

“And it’s a big problem we face back here in the village. But Apia is doing great.” 

“If we do an umu or boiled taro, we only use three small taros and chicken for our meal and that’s it.”

“Sometimes when we don’t have food, I just ask my wife to boil us some tea and then have it with biscuits or bread.” 

“I always tell her not to cry and ask for things that might cause trouble. And I don’t want others to do things for me. In my life, my only focus is our Heavenly Father and our family to prosper.” 

“And that’s the truth. I don’t ask others to bring food for me. They are on their own and we take care of ourselves as well.”

He believes the changes occur because of the way people live their lives nowadays. 

“It’s not the same like it used to be back in the days. Most people just keep going to church all the time but do not use the message from the Pastors.”

Moreover, he believes that there is poverty in Samoa. 

“Yes. There is poverty in Samoa,” he says.

“But our Heavenly Father showed us what to do and how to live our lives. Because if we continue on being lazy and do nothing to avoid poverty, then we will end up being thieves.”  

“We have lands and if you have a plantation, keep working hard in all you do and you will have nothing to worry about.

“Some people are just weak and most of them are happy with just roaming around. But if we all work hard together; our Heavenly Father will help you and make it grow.”

“The bible also says to love one another, and many things will be added onto you.” 

“You reap sweet success if you love others. God will continue to help and bless you if you continue to seek Him. If not, he will take everything away from you.” 

“We need to get it right with God, if we move away from Him, then we will end up in poverty.”

Politically, he thinks there is a big difference between the government we have now compare to the past. 

“And I don’t know why,” he added. 

“The current Government has been standing for a long time now. Nowadays, they (M.P’s) disappear after the election and don’t show their faces in the district. 

“And why would they show themselves when we are not getting anything from them? The only thing we know is that they tell us that this person won and then that’s it. And we don’t hear from them after that.” 

“Sometimes I am happy with the government and sometimes I am not. And that’s my honest opinion. For the Member of Parliament from our district, they are roaming around like palagi’s (foreigners). I don’t know if they were assigned any position in Parliament or not.” 

“It’s not the same like it used to before. Our government was like the Chinese Government after the general Election this year.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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