Relying on the ocean for a living

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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IT’S NOT EASY BUT IT’S WORTH IT: Lua Afasene, 40, from the Salelavalu, Savaii

IT’S NOT EASY BUT IT’S WORTH IT: Lua Afasene, 40, from the Salelavalu, Savaii

Going out to the ocean on foot during low tide in the morning and by boat at night during high tide may not be safe, but for some, it’s their only way of making a living.

For Lua Afasene, from Salelavalu, Savaii, despite the risks her husband takes to gather edible sea treats, she says it’s their only source of income.

Aged 40, Lua explains what it’s like to rely only on the ocean.

“We sell a lot of different types of ocean treats like sea urchins, seaweed and so much more,” she told the Village Voice.

“Everything you see on this table is the work of my husband. Every morning he would go out in low tide and gather seaweed, sea urchins and other small things to sell.

“Then at night time he would go out fishing for other things.”

Lua also explained how hard that type of life is.

“Living like this isn’t easy,” she said.

“I feel sorry for my husband because he has to go all the way out to sea to get these things. It’s not the safest way to make a living. “After the gathering process is done then we have to clean everything properly before we pack them to sell. The process is very long and hard.”

But according to Lua, all the hard work is worth it if it’s done for those you love.

Some of the products sold by Lua at her market stall
Some of the products sold by Lua at her market stall

“We have been doing this for a very long time,” she said.

“This is how we take care of the family and especially the children. The father of the family had some experience and ever since we moved to Savaii, this is the only way we can make a bit of money.

“I have seven children to take care of so it’s sometimes difficult to get all the family needs out of the way. We also have a lot of obligations but it’s not a bad thing.

“Take the church for example; if you are honest with your contribution to the church then you will get a lot of blessings. The Lord will help you if you are honest with everything.

“The Lord makes everything easy if you trust in him. My husband has been doing this for so long and not once has he gotten sick.”

And with very good earnings, Lua said the hard work is worth it.

“The money is good though,” she said.

“We would make about $400 a day if everything is sold. On off days then we would get as low as $280 from sales.

“We work hard because the cost of living fluctuates a lot. Sometimes the cost of living is very high and other times it’s very low.

“It really depends on what you are willing to spend on. It also depends on everyone’s situations; some people find it hard to make money so everything seems too expensive for them.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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