Mangoes Samu’s fruits for life

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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TAKING PRIDE IN GROWING UNCOMMON APPLE-MANGOES: Samu Suaesi, 45, from the village of Fasito’o-Uta

TAKING PRIDE IN GROWING UNCOMMON APPLE-MANGOES: Samu Suaesi, 45, from the village of Fasito’o-Uta

On the roadside at Fasito’o-Uta, it’s hard to miss him.

With bright yellow mouth-watering sweet mangoes displayed on a small table, Samu Sauesi has become a regular feature since the mango season started.

There’s a story behind these juicy mangoes. It has provided for Samu Suaesi and his family for many generations. From his grandfather, to his father and now to him, the mangoes have been a good source of money for the family for over 100 years.

“Once it’s ripe, the mangoes turn completely yellow,” Samu told the Village Voice.

“We used to export these mangoes to American Samoa because it was very popular. We still have a buyer in Australia who purchases only about ten boxes from me.”

“The apple-mango trees have been in our family for many generations and its way over 100 years old. My grandfather planted the tree when he was younger and now it is useful to all generations.”

“I’m sure that when we pass away the mango trees will still provide for future generations to come.”

Samu says that his family looks forward to mango seasons because they earn quite a bit from sales.

“We call this the apple-mango due to its shape and size,” he said.

“You will find me selling mangoes on the roadside every mango season. I can make well over $200 a week from mango sales and on off weeks, I will make as low as $150.”

“It’s a good way to make money but it’s seasonal; so earning money from it depends on the time of year. No one currently has a job in my family so this is our only source of income.”

Samu’s family takes a lot of pride in being the few lucky ones in Samoa to have the apple-mango tree growing on their land.

He mentions that they named their land Eden because of the mangoes.

“We named our piece of land Eden because we have a lot of these mangoes growing there, in fact we have seven apple-mango trees,” Samu said.

“We have so much pride in this mango and it attracts a lot of customers. The trees which grow these mangoes are very rare; it’s not like other mango trees where you just throw the seed on the ground and it grows.”

“Families who have this tree growing on their land are lucky. In this village, my land is the only one which grows these mangoes and if you taste it, it’s very sweet.”

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