Work is not just about survival, it’s about healthy living

By Fetalai Tuilulu’u and Aruna Lolani ,

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LIFE AS A PLANTER: Sinaumea Toeava-Saupo, of Leauva’a.

LIFE AS A PLANTER: Sinaumea Toeava-Saupo, of Leauva’a. (Photo: Fetalai Tuilulu’u )

At 70 years of age, Sinaumea Toeava Saupo from the village of Leauva’a, is contented.

The father of seven who have all grown up and moved out of the house – many of them overseas – says at his age, the key is to enjoy life.

But that doesn’t mean sitting around and doing nothing all day. 

The Village Voice caught up with him while he was resting on the side of the road.

He had just done some work on his plantation.

“I just sat down, I was working on my plantation back there,” he said.

He was looking for a cigarette. 

“I couldn’t buy one because I have no money. The taro are not ready for harvest yet so all I’m doing is checking it and weeding the grass to ensure they are growing well.”

The elderly father is not like other pensioner fathers.

“I’m 70 – years - old and I’m still working,” he said. 

“Age to me doesn’t matter when you know your family depends on you for support,” he said. 

“For me, as long as I can work, I will do my best to try and contribute to caring for the family.” 

“I’m staying with my sister’s family here. We depend on the fruits of our own land. I also get the pension from the government and that helps us survive.”

But work for Sinaumea is not all about survival.

“I want to stay healthy too,” he said. 

“I exercise at the plantation and I use it to maintain good health. Every morning and every evening I tend our plantation. It’s the best form of exercise.”

“I have children overseas but I don’t want them to worry about me.”

“I’m still strong to work provide for myself.” 

Asked about any difficulties, he said it’s the lack of money.

 “That’s the only sad part, the only time we have money is during the harvest period.” 

“If the crops are harvested within eight months, we have to work out how to find money after that.”

“Just as you can see, I’m looking for a smoke because my plantation is not ready.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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