For Ioelu Sao, from the village of Lotofaga, selling fruits by the roadside isn’t just a job, it’s his way of life and he says there is more than meets the eye.
Aged 65, Ioelu says that when selling things to make ends meet, a lot of the work is done by the Lord. As he sits and thanks the Lord, he would get customers showing a bit of love and support for him.
“Selling these produce over here to get a bit of money for things the family needs,” he told the Village Voice.
“I sit here and wait for the love of people to be shown to my family and I. I sit here and thank the Lord for putting kindness in the hearts of my customers as they stop by to support me.”
“With work such as these, I rely only on Jesus because he helps everyone. Whether we are struggling or not, the Lord will always help us.”
Ioelu refuses to take credit for any of the work that he does saying that all glory belongs to the Lord.
“The way I see it, the produce I sell isn’t from us but from the Lord,” he said.
“He allows my crops to grow and from that, I am able to sell it for a bit of money for my family. I have pineapples, pawpaw and other small things which I sell to people who go about their day on the road.”
“This is how I take care of my family and I am not ashamed to admit that.”
Making a maximum of $30 a day, Ioelu says that when he puts food on the table, all of the long hours by the road is worth it.
“When taking care of your loved ones, doing work like this is essential,” he said.
“Yes we can eat boiled taro every day but you also have to try and get some money to buy something nice for the children. Something like chicken would be good to bring the family a bit of joy.”
“No one is currently working in our household. This is my family’s only source of income. I would make about $30 on a good day.”
“Other days I would only make about $15. There are five people in my family and there is not enough to make ends meet but I still try my best.”
Ioelu admits that his family struggles from time to time, but he doesn’t let it de-motivate him.
“Even though we struggle, I still try my best to make ends meet,” he said.
“I think that’s the problem with many people in Samoa. They struggle yet they refuse to work to make any money. Others are even too shy to come and sell goods like this on the roadside.”
“I don’t know why people are shy. If you want something in life then you should work towards it.”
As prices for store bought goods increase more and more every day, Ioelu says that it makes life just a little more difficult.
“I agree that things are starting to get very expensive nowadays,” he said.
“As prices increases; it’s also harder to make ends meet with the little money we make. On the other hand, if we have no money then we can easily just boil some taro and eat it for dinner.”
“The only thing that worries me is the children because a lot of their needs and wants require money. Just like me, children and the elders are always the priority for everyone.”