Tila Simaika, from the village of Nu’u is one of those friendly faces you see at your local family owned village shop.
Aged 20, Tila helps his parents with running their small village shop. Being a helpful son to his parents, he says life has gotten pretty good since they opened up their store.
But life wasn’t always this great for Tila and his family.
“My family came from real humble beginnings,” he told the Village Voice.
“We didn’t have much growing up and life wasn’t easy. As we went along with life, we started to think of different possibilities of how we can earn a living.
“Now we are here with our little village shop. It is earning us quite a bit and we were even able to buy a car with what we make from our small store.”
Tila says that his family lived off of produce sales and were able to save up enough to open a store and from that moment on, life has only gotten better for the family.
“Starting off, we lived off of the dirt,” he said.
“We grew tomatoes, cabbages and other small crops to take care of the family’s basic needs. Life wasn’t easy when we were living like that but now we are doing well for ourselves.
“Back when we had our little tomato and cabbage patch, we didn’t make much but we saved anything we could. That’s how we ended up with this store; we saved enough to kick off our business.
“Because of our village shop, we have been able to help out our family in more ways than one. We have been able to make a lot of things possible from our shop earnings.
“We just got back from taking some money to some of our family who needed our help with their lives.”
With the business still at its infant stage, Tila says the only problem is with the rowdy villagers who get drunk on the road.
“We just started this business not long ago,” he said.
“There aren’t that many problems with running a village shop. I guess the only issue I can think of would be drunkards who walk around the village causing trouble.
“Other than that, we’re doing pretty well with life. Having a shop has many perks; one of those perks is that I am able to make a lot of friends.
“Our frequent customers become close to us and it’s always nice to have a lot of people close to you. Compared to the last four years, we are really starting to see a lot of people coming over to buy.”
Asked for a message for all the other youths around Samoa, Tila says that the key to a good life is by obeying your parents.
“My message to all the youths out there is to always put your family first,” he said.
“You will get a lot of blessings if you listen to your parents and be obedient. Being honest with your life and staying humble is key to a great life.”