Culturally rich, financially poor

By Ilia L Likou ,

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THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE: Aseni Aseni from Afega says we are rich culturally but we have no money to show for it.

THERE NEEDS TO BE A BALANCE: Aseni Aseni from Afega says we are rich culturally but we have no money to show for it.

Samoa is culturally rich but is relatively poor in money terms.

But is that such a bad thing?

Aseni Aseni, 49-year-old-father of three from Afega, said depends on a person’s perspective.

“Some people say we are blessed because we have a rich culture,” he said. “Others say that because we don’t have money we are doomed. It’s an interesting question.”

Aseni caught up with the Village Voice yesterday morning.

“In terms of money, the struggle we (the whole country) go through to make ends meet every day is hard,” he said.

Aseni works as a nightwatchman for one of the companies at Vaitele.

“I work because I’ve got a family to take care of and the pay I get every week is not enough to take care and provide for my family,” he said.

“I mean my pay...it’s not bad at all, but no matter how much money we earn, the cost of living is still expensive. You know money talks and if there’s no money, there’s no life.”

Two of his children remain at school. The eldest son works for a company in town. Every day is a struggle, he said.

“Dealing with budgeting every week is really difficult,” he said. “Then we have to figure out how to pay for term four of schools.

“That’s the reason why I work hard every day because I don’t want my family to starve and especially I don’t want my children to end up on the street selling chips and matches.”

He understands that his children’s education is a good investment.

“My family is very poor but my children can make the foundation of the future tomorrow. That is why I’m worrying so much this time, I want to make sure that they’re in school.”

Aseni believes that without hard work there is no survival for many of the families in Samoa.

“To me, every week I try to stretch my pay to cover everything and it’s really hard because of the increasing cost of goods and services from time to time.

“So I have to work hard and keep on trusting God.”

Aside from money problem, Aseni says that life in the village is great.

“I guess the only thing we struggle with is money; and it’s hard to live without money...but life in our village is peaceful because of the strong village councils we have.

“We also have guidelines in the village to control the behaviour of everyone and that’s why I love and I prefer living with my wife and children in our village.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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