Many people will go through life without experiencing the joy of looking out at a plantation they’d worked so hard to develop.
For Kerisimasi Iosefo, from the village of Leauva’a, there’s no better joy than the joy of watching his vegetables grow.
Aged 48, Kerisimasi recently took up farming and is enjoying every bit of the experience. Mainly focusing on growing pumpkins and melon sized cucumbers, Kerisimasi describes his life as free and peaceful.
“This plantation isn’t something that I just randomly started doing,” he told the Village Voice yesterday.
“I live on this land with my brother and we were living in New Zealand before; we also have our family in New Zealand.
“I came back in 2008 for the 100th anniversary for the Catholic Church and I stayed on from then till now. This land is my mother’s land and I just moved here from the coastal side three months ago.
“This land is big and it brought me joy seeing the plantation of my neighbors so I called up my siblings and told them that I will be using this land for my plantation.
“I then started work instantly. I started by building a small hut on the hill and then I began planting.”
According to Kerisimasi, his motivation to work hard is from the wise words shared to him by his father.
“I was guided by what my father always said,” he said.
“If a child’s head doesn’t sweat then they won’t eat. For us in Samoa, if you don’t work then I don’t know how they will live.
“Everything takes money, it’s true that there may be poor people here and there but you need to work hard to help yourselves.
“We can eat freely here in Samoa; even if you’re not employed you can still eat freely off of the land.
“The land was nice when I came back from New Zealand, there was a tar sealed road and we had street lights because it was very dark back in the days.”
Living by himself at his home grants Kerisimasi the freedom to choose just how much he wants to do every day.
“The vegetables I grow look very nice and looking at it brings me joy,” he said.
“Living life like this doesn’t only give you money and food, but it also brings peace to your life. I sell all the crops I grow.
“I mainly grow pumpkins and cucumbers but the cucumbers I grow aren’t the small kinds. I grow really big ones.
“We get our seeds from a restaurant and then we started growing the large cucumbers. I sell them for $25 each to a Chinese man at the market.
“I’m the only one living here so I measure how much I have with how much I want to make that day.”
Furthermore, Kerisimasi believes that Samoa is better off than other countries around the world because we can live freely.
“The things you get from the shops are expensive but you can life freely off of the land,” he said.
“You don’t pay for the land you live on for the crops you get. We are lucky because overseas they pay for the house they live in every month or so.
“Samoa you just have to buy your house then it’s yours.”