Help yourself first, father says

By Fetalai Tuilulu’u ,

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POSITIVE MINDSET: Mautofiga Lupematasila, 66, of Levi Saleimoa.

POSITIVE MINDSET: Mautofiga Lupematasila, 66, of Levi Saleimoa. (Photo: Fetalai Tuilulu’u)

Mautofiga Lupematasila is sure about one thing in life.

If you sit and wait for people to help you, you will end up nowhere.

Rather you have got to help yourself first so that others can lend a hand.

The 66-year-old from Levi Saleimoa was hard at work when the Village Voice caught up with him.

Taking care of his family can be stressful but the elderly father tries his best. 

 “Well this is the father’s job,” he said. “I have to work hard to look after my family.”

 “When the children are at school, I make my way to gather some firewood for them to make the saka (boiled bananas and taro) tonight.” 

“If the kids are at school I try to help out at the house and make things easier for them when they get home.”

Mautofiga said they are a happy family.

“Everything is alright in our family because everyone is playing their part to try and make things easier. “

The father says his wife works hard to earn money while he tends to work in the plantation to take the pressure off her and their children.”

Firewood for the cookhouse.
Firewood for the cookhouse.

 “To me personally, life is fine. I think the only problem I face is the pigs eating my plantation.”

“Sometimes I stay overnight at my plantation because a lot of pigs are eating my crops. That’s why I don’t miss a day otherwise I risk going there to find that all my crops are demolished.”

“So I’m thinking that when we have enough money, we will try and build a fence to stop the pigs.”

  Mautofiga said he is grateful for his wife.

 “Her pay puts food on the table, pays the children’s school expenses and many other things.”

“The plantation get us food and sometimes we can get a little bit of money from the things I sell.”  

“We have children overseas but they also have a life to live, they’ve got their priorities too.”

Mautofiga said fa’alavelave are hurting people.

“There are too many fa’alavelaves and everyone must contribute.”

He said the cost of living is decent but it’s the pressure from the demands of everyday Samoan life that makes things hard.

 “To be honest, the cost of living is pretty decent right now,” he said. “Sometimes we have to focus on the children and leave the rest for the next time. We can always say no.”

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