Poverty exists in Samoa.
But Toreka Fa’ataualofa, from the village of Faleula-Uta, says there is a home grown solution for it. Aged 32, Toreka’s husband currently resides in America leaving her with her children at home.
Spotted sitting on the roadside selling mangoes, Toreka says she just wants to make a bit of money from all the mangoes before they go to waste.
“The reason I am selling these mangoes is because there were so many growing on our tree and it’s a good way to make some quick cash,” she told the Village Voice.
“So I am making good use of the mangoes from this mango season and if I make some money from it then that’s a bonus; it’ll go straight into helping the family out.”
Toreka admits that life isn’t easy for her and her children, especially with the increasing cost of living.
“There are two people currently employed in my family and they make enough for themselves,” she said.
“I have a husband but he went over to America and when it comes to making ends meet, it’s not easy doing everything on my own. I am now taking care of my children and it’s not easy to make ends meet.
“One thing that makes things hard for me is how expensive life has become. Everything from the shops is getting more and more expensive.”
The hardworking mother says she dreads the time when her children are ready for school because it will add more pressure on her.
“My children are still young so they aren’t in school yet,” she said.
“It’s going to make things a little harder when they come of age to school because it will increase my expenses a lot. Life may be easy for some but for a lot of us, it’s very difficult.
“I believe that Samoa does have poverty because there are many people who suffer from it. The reason why many of our people suffer is because they don’t work hard for what they need.
“Nothing comes easy in life so families need to work together to make things easier and to make ends meet.”
With poverty in Samoa, the cost of living increases and the minimum wage still very low, Toreka says the government holds a lot of power to make real change in Samoa.
“I think the Government should also do something to help out our people,” she said.
“Maybe try they can take a look at the prices for some of the things families really need. That will help many people a lot.
“I believe there is poverty but there is something we can do about it. We have a lot of work opportunities but the pay people get is a little small.
“Raising the minimum wage will also go a long way for our country.”