Elderly man’s mission to help his family

By Fetalai Tuilulu’u and Aruna Lolani ,

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FARMER LOOKING FOR A CHANGE:  Mika Asa, 61, of Faleula.

FARMER LOOKING FOR A CHANGE: Mika Asa, 61, of Faleula. (Photo: Fetalai Tuilulu’u )

People have to make choices.

For Mika Asa from Faleula, he is willing to give up his plantation for a job, which will offer a regular income for him and his family.

With $100 a week for a family of five, they struggle. The 61-year-old doesn’t hide the fact.

 “My wife makes only $100 a week,” he said. “She’s a house girl to one family on the other side of our village. 

“I was employed but when I stopped working at my job I struggled to find another way to provide for my family.

 “So I started farming to make use of my time and I’m still doing it right now until I find a job.

“I left work because I was sick. When I was well again, the job had been given to someone else.” 

Although he is actively searching for a job, Mika said farming is an attractive option.

“Comparing the money I make from working and being a farmer, I think farmers make more money,” he said. 

“There are expenses when you work such as bus fares. If we add those together the money we use on bus fares during the week is a huge waste.

“When I go to the plantation I don’t need money, I just walk and collect what I need to earn a bit of cash and go sell it by the road. 

“I make so much more money as a farmer than I did when I was working.

“Another bonus is that I am my own boss. It’s up to me when I work or not. “My plantation isn’t too big but at least we have a second option from my wife’s work.” 

So why is he giving up the plantation to look for a job?

“I can’t do this forever,” he said.

“Besides the weather has been extremely challenging lately. I need to find a steady job so there is money coming in all the time so I can help my family. 

“The other reason I need a job is so I can take out a loan when we need money. No one will give me a loan because I don’t have a steady income.”

Mika said the kind of job he is looking for include house work, farming and cooking.

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