People say that there is no place like home.
For To’onoa Seusue Esera, Savai’i is home.
That was her opinion when she was approached by the Village Voice about how life is for her and her family in Savai’i.
The 51-year-old mother of three and grandmother of three resides with her husband and children at Safune.
To’onoa told the Village Voice that life in Savai’i is “simple and peaceful.”
“We have our own lands and we get to do whatever we want with the lands we have,” said To’onoa.
“The plantation and sea is the main source of income for most families here in the village. It may be hard for some people, but we used to this kind of lifestyle.
“As a family, we work together to improve our lives and we know our duties and responsibilities.”
To’onoa and her husband Seuseu Esera operate a plantation containing taro, banana, vegetables, ava Samoa, and Samoan tobacco.
Her husband is also good at fishing.
“We were brought up by our parents not to rely on others but ourselves. If you want to give your children a better future, then our duty as parents is to do what we can to provide for them.
“The hard work we do every day is nothing when I see the happy faces of my children every morning going to school. It’s all worth it because we are doing it for our family, children and also to help us with all the church contributions and cultural activities or family fa’alavelave.”
She went on to say that life in Savaii is peaceful because of the strong village councils we have in the villages.
“To me, that is one advantage of living in Savaii and the rural areas.
“Our village councils have rules and regulations that guide the behavior of the people in the village. And this is a good thing because it helps avoid all the troubles which are happening in other countries and also in Apia as well.
“The fa’a-samoa or the Samoan culture is really strong in the village and in Savaii.
“Families, churches and schools depend on the village council to help them out with solving some of the issues we face every day.”
And most importantly, To’onoa enjoys living in Savaii because it is where her heart is.
“I was born and raised in Savaii; my home and heart is in Savaii.
“And I am not being biased, but I think life here is way better. We get to live peacefully here and freely. We spend more time with our families, children and friends here.
“Life here is not busy like in Apia. And there are hardly any troubles here in Savaii.”