Samoa’s oldest beggar

By Sarafina Sanerivi ,

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 EARNING A LIVING ON THE STREETS: 83-year-old Isaia from Alamagoto.

EARNING A LIVING ON THE STREETS: 83-year-old Isaia from Alamagoto.

At the age of 83, most people would be at home being cared for. 

But for Isaia from Alamagoto, this is not the case.

Isaia is one of the most common faces we see on the side of the roads in the town of Apia. He is seen sitting or standing everywhere on the streets of Apia begging for a living.

The 83-year-old said he stays with his daughter and her husband at Alamagoto. He told the Samoa Observer that his daughter and her husband are both employees at the Yazaki Eds at Vaitele. 

He enjoys what he does, because at the end of the day, he goes home with something for his family.

“Life is hard nowadays and everything is expensive,” he said. “If you don’t work, you will end up starving.”

Asked if he does not feel like it’s time to stay home and be cared for, he said no.

 “I don’t want to be a burden to my children,” he said. 

“So I find my own way of earning money and to help my family.”

He said he used to work at lots of different places when he was young, including working at the Market at Savalalo before it was burnt down. “I used to look after all the blocks at the market before the fire, and I also collect money and payments from people who own the stalls at the market. That’s what I used to do. 

“But since I don’t do that anymore, I am now here asking people for money.”

Isaia said the minimum amount of money he collects everyday is $85tala.

“I use that money to buy food for my family,” he said.

Isaia prays for all the passers-by who help him.

Even though he enjoys what he does, Isaia said being on the street is very difficult. 

“Most people make fun of what I do and I don’t get money from people most of the time. Some of them think I’m crazy but I’m not.”

However, Isaia said he is always happy and grateful to everyone for their kindness and generosity. 

“I always pray for those who help me and who give me money. I also pray for those who give me food and drinks instead of money. I am grateful and thankful to all of you.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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