Subsistence living still the way

By Aruna Lolani and Seia Soloi ,

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All about the plantation life: Fialelei Faitua with her husband Leva Poutasi at their plantation at Solosolo, on the side of the road.

All about the plantation life: Fialelei Faitua with her husband Leva Poutasi at their plantation at Solosolo, on the side of the road. (Photo: Aruna Lolani)

Subsistence living was how many Samoans lived in the past.

And while some people have forgotten all about it, Fialelei Faitua from Falese’ela- tai and Solosolo, has not.

For the hardworking woman who comes from a family of farmers, it remains the only way to deal with the cost of living.

“Our lands consist of all the wealth that we ever need, we just need to work for it,” she said.

Village Voice caught up with Faitua and her husband Leva as they were busy cutting and cleaning the grass at the plantation yesterday.

“I’m here to help my husband to do some work,” she said.

“We haven’t been here for a while, we’ve been busy with so many things and my husband was busy with his job as well.

“But see this plantation, it’s one of our most important assets because it took us five months to try and develop it. 

“I think two of those five months went by, and we had already planted 14,000 taro. We had to buy a few crops to start off our plantation and this is how far we’ve come.”  

Fialelei’s husband Leva, works as a security officer at Le Amosa and they try to use up their free time to develop their plantation. 

Fialelei used to work as a chef at Aggie Grey’s but since there was no one to take care of her children and father in-law, she left work to take care of her family.

“My family runs a small business at Falese’ela where we export our taro so that’s why we come here to collect our taro so they can export it for us and we earn money from that.

“It’s really good money and I believe we earn more from this than from working for any company and to me, I think this is where Samoa’s richness lies within.

Fialelei is a mother of five children and two of them are living in Australia while the rest are attending school here.

“I love helping out my husband with the plantation, it’s one of the things I want to invest most of my time in.

 “The family I was born in is a hardworking one so I’m not used to being lazy.

“The saying goes ‘reap what you sow’ so everytime we receive a huge amount of money from our plantation, it’s always an amazing feeling.

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