When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.
That’s the attitude of Paiatea Teofilo, from the village of Tufulele, towards the challenges he faces as a farmer. The challenges are plenty. There are roading and water issues but he remains optimistic.
Aged 62, Paiatea is a hardworking father who spends a lot of his days up in his plantation working a sweat to take care of his family.
“There’s nothing too hard for us and people struggle from their own actions. If you don’t work hard then you won’t move forward with life,” he tells the Village Voice.
“On another note, I think the only problem we have in this village is the road, as you can see it’s not in a very good state and it would be nice to have it fixed.
“The roads also don’t reach where many of the families in this village work. Making our way to the plantation is a tough task all on its own.”
He mentions how only those living close to the coast are lucky when it comes to water. But for the many living inland, the water doesn’t reach them.
“We have village meetings where we see what needs to be fixed and so we have sent many requests to the government about the road,” Paiatea said.
“Another problem is the water. The water is alright closer to the coastal areas but for many families living inland, they suffer a lot.
“Other than those problems, everything is alright here in our village.”
Despite having no road to the plantation lands, nothing will stop Paiatea from providing for his family.
“It’s easy to work hard when it comes to taking care of your family,” he said.
“This is the work that I do to take care of those I love. My family has been relying on what I grow in the plantation for a long time now.
“Life as a farmer isn’t too hard for me because I grew up with it and as I got older, I am now using everything that I have learnt to take care of my own family.”
With a few people in his family currently employed, Paiatea says that he would rather stand on his own two feet and provide for his family through his work in the plantation.
“There’s a lot a plantation can do for your family,” he said.
“It provides food for the family which also has an added benefit of keeping the body strong. Another benefit is that it can be sold for money.
“The money can then be used for many things. I can cover small things the family needs as well as obligations to the church and village.
“I grow all sorts of crops. I have bananas, yams, pineapples and so on.”