Taxi drivers used to make so much money back in the days.
Not any more, says 55-year-old Sa’umani Sa’umani from Vaoala.
“I have been a taxi driver for many years,” he said. “It used to be a very lucrative job but not any more.
“I guess it’s because we have so many new cars and people are catching the taxis less and less.”
Sa’umani has six children.
“I’m grateful they are always helping us out whenever we need them,” he said.
He says the problem nowadays is ‘what people earn still cannot accommodate the high cost of living’
“The prices for all the things in this country have increased from time to time and the pay people receive is not enough to cover [their] everyday needs.”
The only solution, according to Sa’umani, is for him to keep going.
That means he drives every day to make as much money as he can.
“My one and only wish is for my family to survive and have a happy life,” he said.
“As I’ve mentioned earlier, I have children but I don’t depend on them for money.
“So my normal routine everyday is driving around the island to earn a bit of money to help my family basic needs.
“You will not get money just by sitting at home and doing nothing... that’s why I keep telling myself to keep on going.”
Taxi drivers face challenges daily.
“For your information, this job isn’t easy, I come every morning and deal with the hot sun and the rain, so that I can earn what I can.
“Despite the challenges, my children are very supportive of me because they are old enough to understand what’s going on and I thank God for them.”
He added that “life is all about hard work.”
“We all know a simple rule in life - that if you don’t work you don’t eat and if you don’t eat you’ll die,” Saumani said.
“That’s what the Bible also tells us.”
He has a message for parents.
“Raising children and guiding them on the right path is your responsibility,” he said.
He believes that “when we (parents) surround our children with love, happiness, and encouragement, they will have the confidence to reach their goals in the future.”