Leulua’ialii Peni Fauoo who is a 50 year old Matai from the village of Sauano admits that life in the village has its ups and downs.
“There are many struggles out here in the villages but in saying that, there are also many great things,” he tells the Village Voice.
“The great thing about being in the rural villages is that we can eat and live freely off the land. On the other hand, the main struggle is that if no one in the family is working then you will have not have any money.
“My village is doing all right right now because we make a lot of money from our carvings. There are some who prefer to make money from carvings and others through animal livestock.”
Leulua’ialii also suggests that villages find different forms of making money.
“Some villages only rely on a single money making method like taro,” he says.
“But I can’t stress enough the many different ways to make money; you can carve, have a coconut plantation, have livestock and so on.”
According to Leulua’ialii, another form of struggle the village people have is over church activities.
“We struggle a lot with church activities out here in the village,” he says.
“We all go to church but sometimes I find that we do not have enough money to feed the family because a lot of money goes to the church.
“Village activities are all right because they’re rare, but a lot of money definitely goes to the church and it is leaving a lot of people struggling.
“I am a Matai; and I grew up with the church; I have made pledges to the church and I don’t mind it at all but sometimes it’s a bit too much.”
Leulua’ialii continued on to say that the blessings will come one day.
“I guess we just need to be obedient,” he says.
“They say that the more you give, the more you earn. No sweat will fall without any reward. You might not get it today or tomorrow but your children will reap the fruits of your work and if we leave this place, our children will benefit from it.
“But a lot of people are saying the same thing about the church. People are also saying that there is poverty in Samoa. But no one died because of starvation in Samoa; we all depend on God. He has different ways of blessing us and we have to have faith and keep working hard.”
But benefits will not come if you don’t put in the hard work.
“The way I see it, if you sit around too much then your brain will die,” Leulua’ialii says.
“The only way to live is to move around and work; work the land, work your talent and work for money. You can’t just sit around and expect money to fall down from heaven.
“The thing about village life is, if a child doesn’t do well in school then they can still make money from the plantation; but that’s a different story in Apia. If you don’t do well in school then it’s a hard life for you.
“There is a very big difference between living in Apia and living out here.”