Life can be tough when only a single member of the family is working, but for Fia’ava’e Lelevaga, aged 38 from the village of Utuali’i, it is still possible to make ends meet.
“Right now my family isn’t in need of anything; we are just waiting for my husband who will be returning this Sunday,” Fia’ava’e tells the Village Voice.
“He is a seasonal employee, he left for six months and this is his first time. We rely mostly on his wages from overseas to take care of the family.
“He would send about $200 every week and it’s sometimes barely enough after everything.”
Are you and your family facing any hardships?
“There are too many village and church obligations which take a lot of our money,” Fia’ava’e confesses.
“Samoans are known to serve so I guess our obligations have to be met. I still manage to feed the family and put the children through school out of the $200 I am given.
“It would be nice if some of the church leaders will look at the congregation with love and see if any of them need help.
“When we get the money from my husband then the money is gone straight away to the different obligations we have.”
What about poverty, is there any poverty in Samoa?
“I reckon the only problem in regards to poverty is that the cost of living is a bit high,” Fia’ava’e says.
“When we’re broke we cut down everything to make food such as breadfruit and so on. The prices are just too high. We had tin fish that was only $2 before and now it’s over $3 and if I reach into my purse and its empty then yeah.
“There is poverty in Samoa, sometimes. Sometimes we can afford the necessities and other times we cannot.”
Do you have any requests for the Government of Samoa?
“The price of chicken has been raised and it makes things a bit tougher,” Fia’ava’e says.
“My only request to the government is to please drop the price a little for essential food items here in Samoa. Other than that, everything is great..it’s balanced.
My family is living off of tin fish because it’s cheap. When my family want chicken then tough luck, we can only afford tin fish.”
Other than what you have said, how is life for you and your family?
“Life is great for us.” says Fia’ava’e.