Avele Aumua is a father of four.
He owns a plantation at Aleipata but he and his family live at Matatufu.
When the Village Voice caught up with Mr. Aumua, he was working on his plantation. He says his work is the continuation of a legacy left by his folks, who were also farmers.
“The main purpose of this is that if we can’t get a good jo, or do well in school, then it’s time to return to the soil,” he told the Village Voice.
“This is the life of most of us are living in the rural areas and this is how we provide for our families and especially, our children.
“I have come to continue the work of our forefathers who worked so hard back in the day, through their plantations, so that they could provide for their families.”
Aumua said he does not live around the area -- he and his wife and children live on the other side -- and he only comes here because of his plantation.
“I come from a very wealthy family, one of my brothers is the Assistant Commissioner at Poutasi Falealili, my sister works at A.N.Z. Bank in Vaitele, and my other brother owns a shop at Saleapaga; the other little ones help out with our mother at home as our father has passed away already.
“Our mother is a strong woman and she is a teacher at Lotofaga Primary School.
“So you see, my family is wealthy but for me, I believe that this is where I belong and I can provide for my family in so many ways through my plantation.
“I love doing this and I believe that farming is a profession of hope.”
Aumua went on to say that last week he took his taro to the market because it was their congregation’s yearly offering (faigataulaga).
“I took about 260 taro to the market and I was able to make $680 Tala in just one day,” he told the Village Voice.
“That money went on our offering and the rest went on the kids’ school fees, as well as their lunches because as you know, if the kids’ lunch is not okay, they won’t be okay to go to school.
“There are also some people here who want a tau talo so I would give it to them for $20 Tala; I would say that I get more money in a day than some people who work in an office.”
Aumua was also asked if it had ever crossed his mind to become involved in the government programme of exporting goods overseas, such as taro, but he said he doesn’t want to.
“I have thought about it but there is a reason I decided not to,” he said.
“The demand is very fast and it will ruin my plantation because even though my taro may not yet be ready to harvest, they would need it -- as a farmer, I have to think of the hard work that I have put in to my plantation.
“We should be thinking of the sweat and working in the sun and rainy days; whether taking the taro as it is would be worth it.
“So that’s why I have decided not to join. It’s good for those who have big plantations but as for me, I don’t think it’s worth it and I would rather be satisfied with the quality of the taro than getting heaps of money when the quality is not good.”