Fesola’i Samuelu, from the village of Lealaoali’i, Faleasi’u, is sure about one thing.
Although living in the village brings many challenges, the peace and tranquility enjoyed by all is unquestionable.
One of the issues the villagers face is the many different expenses and not having enough money to cover it all. Aged 52, Fesola’i works as a carpenter but says he barely makes enough to get by every day.
One of the biggest expenses for Fesola’i is all the costs of putting his children through school.
“There are many changes these days in Samoa,” he told the Village Voice.
“Life is moving so fast and it makes life a bit tougher for many families living in the villages. One of issues we face has got to do with money; families don’t generate enough income to cover all the needs they have.”
“When it comes to the children’s schooling, it adds a lot of expenses that we simply can’t afford. But thank goodness the school year is over so our minds can rest from trying to think of ways to make money to deal with the school costs.”
Fesola’i says that during the academic season, the only thing that falls heavy on all parents’ minds is how to get money to deal with the schooling expenses and have enough to put food on the table still.
“It’s the same every year for families living out here,” he said.
“We try our best to work as hard as possible to find money to deal with the children’s schooling. That’s how it is for us. The only thing on our mind is how we are going to take care of our families.”
“All the extra expenses adds on to the expenses of putting food on the table.”
Although Fesola’i earns a bit of money as a carpenter, he says it’s not enough and that’s why he decided to invest a bit of his time into koko farming.
“I am a carpenter and that’s the only source of money for my family,” he said.
“I earn about $200 a week but that’s nowhere close to being enough to cover our many obligations and then put the children through school.”
“Even though the school year is over, we have to prepare to buy new uniforms and to cover other schooling expenses for the upcoming year.”
“Lucky there aren’t many people living under my roof, it’s just the school kids. The good news on the other hand is that it is nearing the harvest time for my koko.”
“I have developed a small koko plantation that could earn my family and I a bit of extra money.”
But all in all, Fesola’i says he would not want to live anywhere else but his village.
“On the bright side, life here is great,” he said.
“Growing up in these rural villages, you become accustomed to the lifestyle here and we are just not used to the urban western type living.”
“That’s why I prefer living out here to living in the urban areas. We have pawpaw and other crops growing around our house so we don’t need to go buy anything from the market.”
“It’s also very peaceful out here.”