Life is not easy for Saveatama Atina and his wife Silafaga who lives with his two children in an old house along cross island road at Tiavi.
Saveatama Atina is a father of 58 years of age who has worked hard to provide for his young family.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer yesterday, Atina is a strong man who has worked alone to earn a living for his family.
Atina believes the life he lived with his family is very simple.
“We earn a living from our plantation and our vegetable garden,” said Atina.
He said he sells his taro every Friday and Saturday to make sure that they will have money for the weekend and for the following week for his young daughter’s school.
Atina said he hasn’t had any taros for the containers exported overseas. But he is hoping one day he will be able to have his taros exported.
“We earn about $200 a week and that is more than enough for our budget, because we are not obligated to give money to the church but it’s up to us.”
Atina is a Bahai Follower, and he said the highest money he gives to the church every Sunday is not more than $50 and it out of the goodness of his heart.
Asked about Samoa being in poverty, Atina did not agree.
“I agreed with the Prime Minsiter we are given big lands to work on and earn a living but for me it’s hard because I work alone.”
“You can only say that we are living in poverty if you go hungry, no house and nowhere to go,” he said.
“But look around us, we have land to work, my only problem is that I work alone I have no one to help me on my plantation.”
“That’s why I manage my time well, so that I don’t get sick because I have no one to depend on.”
Sitting in an old house on top of the hill, Atina looks around and said their house is the only thing that he worries about every day.
“As you can see the surroundings, we are not living in a stable house,” said Atina.
“We are looking at a way to rebuild our house because this house is not safe anymore for our family during times of natural disasters,” he added.
He said during bad weather, where they live is very dangerous.
The father of two lives with his children on customary land which belongs to Siumu Village.
“We have lived here since 1970, and it was my father who worked this land.”
Now I’m continuing his work since he passed away.
The land is a 60 acre land but he covers an acre of his plantation based on his strength.
Atina not only works for the sake of his family but also for the sake of his 3 year old son Uati Saveatama who has Down syndrome disease.
“Our other priority is our special needs son; we always want to make sure that he is well taken care of.”
Atina says he has his regular check ups because the National Health Services visit his son every Wednesdays to ensure that he is healthy and well taken care of.