Let’s face it. Nobody likes to work.
If everyone were a millionaire, they wouldn’t even think about waking up early to front up to work.
For Ruti Westerlund, 55-year-old from Vaitele and Salelologa, Savai’i, his desire to help his family drove him to work everyday. He was a security officer at one of the Vaitele businesses.
“I care for my children’s lives and their well being,” he said.
“So I worked as hard as I could.”
But something was amiss.
“No matter how hard I worked, the pay was never enough,” he said.
“So I resigned because my pay was not enough. I would work for seven days and I would only get paid for five days. Basically I used to work on Saturday and Sunday for free which was not fair.”
“When I noticed that they hadn’t included my Saturday and Sunday work on my pay, that’s when I quit.”
“The job was hard but my pay was not enough to feed my family and my three kids.”
Now Ruti stays home. He does odd jobs that earn him money to feed his family. He says he is spending a lot more time with his children and he has quite an optimistic view about the future.
“I prefer my kids to attend school in Savai’i and I work there instead of brining them to Upolu,” she said.
“Life in Upolu is too fast. They might get influenced by what is happening with the other generations.”
Back in Savai’i, Ruti has resorted to work the land for survival.
“I have a plantation and vegetables crops,” he said. “So this is one of our major income earners for whatever we need.”
“My oldest son works and he provides for food but that doesn’t count the contribution within villages and the churches. My other daughter is attending Don Bosco Year 12 and the youngest is in Primary.”
Like most people, Ruti pleaded with the government to fix their road. “What is good in Apia, it should be good for Savaii too,” he added As for the cost of living, he believes it’s ridiculous.
“It’s very expensive,” he said. “Many families are struggling to get by and I know the feeling.”
For him, the only solution is working the land.
“Parents should advise their children that if they don’t have a job, they should start a plantation and make use of their time rather than wasting energy on useless stuff.”