While waiting on a change for the better, most vendors at the capital’s flea market find their patience tried out by the Samoan government. The market’s tentative placement as a giant tent still provides a place for the vendors to sell their handcrafts, but the numbers of customers are decreasing.
“We have been selling our stuff here since 2002. Before the fire, when the market burned down in January this year, our sales were stable. But nowadays, it is just not the same anymore”, tells Tasi Sione from the village of Ululoloa.
Together with her friend and business partner Ului Lalornilo from Vailele, she is running one of the stales placed right at the end of the market. Business indeed is slack those days, with more vendors than visitors one can perceive at the market.
“I think it is mainly because of the tent. It is not good for the stalls”, Sione explains, pointing at the holey tarpaulin that represents the government’s rather faltering attempt to provide a solution for the situation.
“When it rains, all our stuff is getting wet. We have a small space to store our handcrafts, but it is not enough and not as good as the one we could use before [the fire]”.
According to Tasi Sione, a solution for the situation is more than obvious: “We need a proper place, like the one we had before. It has to be better than this one. The only thing the government tells us is to wait until their final decision for building everything up is made. We’ve waited for more than seven months now. But there’s no choice for us, because we need the money for our families”.