“I am currently employed at Le Uaina Resort and today is my day off because I am feeling a little sick,” she tells the Village Voice.
“In regards to how different life in town is compared to life in the rural villages; the difference is huge. In town, people live without any worry of village obligations because it’s not that serious.
“On the other hand, out here, it is almost impossible to dodge village obligations. All sorts of village activities have us neck deep in stress.”
Ok, so how stressful can these village obligations really be?
“I can’t speak for other villagers but I am suffering from all of this,” says Jacinta.
“I get money from my job, selling crops but only a tiny portion of that goes into the family. After everything with the village and other things, only about $30 goes into the food for the family. Some money goes into church activities but it’s nothing compared to the village obligations.”
But what happens if those obligations aren’t met?
What will the village council do to you?
“If you don’t contribute then you will be punished by the village,” Jacinta explains.
“They tell you to give up about three or five boxes of tinned food. That’s how life is out here; it’s not easy at all. Sometimes I just want to go back to my family in town.”
Do you have any plans to counter these stressful obligations?
“I would rather go to work in town where there is less stress,” Jacinta admits.
“I would use my pay just for the bills and the rent and that’s it. The rest can be spent on food for the family. I would also put some money aside for church activities, but that’s it.
“But out here, we would have days where we have to put money in for the committee; we gather money to pay for cash power for the committee house, for the committee house food and so on.”
Are there any other issues out in the villages?
“We don’t have a hospital out here,” says Jacinta. “A lot of people are forced to go all the way to the main hospital in Apia. Nowadays people are dying from high blood pressure and all this unnecessary stress is not helping at all.
“The only thing that makes it a little easier for my husband and I, we don’t have any children. But for other people who have a big family with children going to school; I can only imagine how they are suffering.”
Do you have anything else you wish to share?
“What I’m saying is the full truth,” Jacinta says.
“This is all happening out here, there’s nothing false in what I am saying. Mothers are forced to go look for ways of getting money because there’s just too much to do in the village. If they punish me for speaking out, then at least I know that what I have said is the truth.”