Never too young to work

By Aruna Lolani and Fetalai Tuilulu’u ,

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DETERMINED YOUNG MAN WITH BIG DREAMS: Siliato Fuamaila, 17-year-old of Tufuiopa, child vendor in Apia.

DETERMINED YOUNG MAN WITH BIG DREAMS: Siliato Fuamaila, 17-year-old of Tufuiopa, child vendor in Apia.

While most people cannot tolerate the bad behavior shown by some street vendors uphold, Siliato Fuamaila has always been the different one.

The 17-year-old is from the Village of Tufuiopa and he told Village Voice that all he wants is to work to create a better future for himself and his family.

“I know most of the street vendors are always rude which is why some people don’t want to put up with us but I’m always respectful of people,” he said.

“I was brought up right and I think growing up in a family where I always look up to my mother, Ivoga Siliato for everything, gave me an inspiration to be someone with manners, not just a street vendor.”

Siliato said his mother is both the mother and father of the family because he grew up without his father in his life.

He’s currently attending Saint Joseph’s College at Alafua and since it’s the school holidays; Siliato has started again on selling goods on the street to help out his family.

“I only become a street vendor when I’m on school holidays and I’m doing this on my own free will,” he said. 

“I look at how they’re all working hard especially my mother and I want to help out in developing my family so I chose this, because to me it’s easy and it’s something that I can do.”

“So whatever money I get, I always give it to my mother to help out with family stuff and even my school.”

“I like what I’m doing because through this I have found a lot of friends and know a lot of people.” 

When asked about what he wants to be when he grows he said his dream at the moment is to become a rugby player.

“I like rugby because I have always been interested in rugby ever since I started from primary school,” he says to the Village Voice. 

“Right now, I’m just trying to finish school. I want to be able to succeed with that.”

 “I want to continue on being a better person and I want to create my own better future.”

“What I see now is most of the kids on the street, their parents cannot teach them anymore.”

“I’ve seen that some of them have already started on smoking and drinking.”

“I don’t drink and I don’t smoke.” 

“I only want to work to make a better life for myself.” 

Siliato have also been working at Apollo Cinemas and an article titled ‘Making a tangible difference’ was published on Samoa Observer on the 8th of February confirmed this. 

Apollo Cinemas Manager, Arnold Dulguime, confirmed that Siliato came and asked for a job and although he did not qualify, they wanted to help him. 

 “I was in the Philippines, I had a part time too,” said Mr. Dulguime.

“I was studying and then worked you know at McDonuts and Jelly Beans, the food chains in the Philippines and because of back then. I really wanted to help people like students to make money by working part time here.”

 “That’s why we just hired him (Siliato) for part time because he’s a nice guy and it was school holidays.” 

Siliato, he said, was a nice young boy who genuinely wanted to help his family. That’s why he was working on the streets.

When Village Voice asked Siliato about this he said, “I was really happy when I was working part time at Apollo Cinemas.”

“I worked there for about 4 months, which was during school holidays.”

“I started from the car park, where I helped customers by showing them where to park their cars.”

“Then after that, I moved on to being a doorman, then after that I became an usher.”

“I got $200 a week from that part time job and all that money goes to my mom.”

“I was happy about it and I was also thankful that I had an opportunity from my friend who owns the cinema to work there.”

Siliato is an honest and hard working young soul and he wants every child and youth to make use of their time in school and to help their families.

“Just some words of advice to the children that are my age, please go to school and make use of all your time in school.”

“If you prefer to live a life where you skip school and just roam around town, smoking and drinking then you’re building a future that’s not very bright.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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