No poverty in Samoa

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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POVERTY DOESN’T EXIST IN SAMOA: Alaelua Lemasani Fenumia’i of Lufilufi.

POVERTY DOESN’T EXIST IN SAMOA: Alaelua Lemasani Fenumia’i of Lufilufi. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

There have been a lot of different perspectives on whether poverty exists in Samoa or not. 

And for Alaelua Lemasani Fenumia’i of Lufilufi, he thinks the different perspectives are a result of how people define poverty. 

“Different people have different opinions,” he told the Village Voice. 

“And in regards to this issue of whether there is poverty in Samoa or not, the different views of the people come as a result of how they describe the term poverty. 

“The way I see it, a lot of people say that they are poor when they don’t have enough money. 

“But that happens to most of us. Sometimes we have money and sometimes we don’t. “But that doesn’t mean that we are poor. We have heaps of lands that we can work on to provide food for our families. We can also have plantations and sell our crops to the market to get money. 

“If you keep saying that you are poor and not do anything about it, you and your family will suffer.”

 Alaelua resides with his wife Ainoama at Lufilufi, and they have seven children. 

He lost his left-arm in the year 1981 when he was working for a company at Vaitele where Bluebird is located at the moment. 

Having to live with just one hand was tough for Alaelua at first. However, that didn’t stop him from doing things he wanted to do in life. 

“I lost my hand in the year 1981,” says Alaelua.

“What happened to me was unfortunate, but I learnt to be grateful to God for giving me the gift of life and the opportunity to live each and every day. So I didn’t want to stop doing things normally just because I lost my arm.

“I lost my arm even before I started my own family. And I do what every other man does. I have a plantation and I do everything with just one hand. 

“I am used to it. I do my chores on my own unless one of the boys has a day off from work then they will come and help me out with my plantation and other things. 

“Also when I go fishing, I use a spear and a slingshot and use my mouth to hold the spear. 

“To me, it’s all about courage and having the strength to do it. If your mind and heart is in it, then anything is possible. 

“But I don’t go fishing during the daytime anymore. I only go fishing during night time now. And like I said before, I am used to it. I also won one of the competitions which was held at Faleula for the Methodist church. I was able to do many other Samoan chores with just one hand.”

Life in the village is easygoing, says Alaelua. 

“There are no challenges here in the village.

“The only problem we have is the common problem we have with our children. Children nowadays are not the same anymore. They want to exercise their rights. But to me, I never neglect my duty as a parent in doing what’s right for them and teaching them what to do and what not to do. 

“But all is well in the village and life is easy.

“We depend mostly on land and sea to get money and food for the family. Other things we depend on for our families are chickens and pigs. Not only for food but to also earn money to do other things such as village and church contributions and also sending the children to school.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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