Land is all we have.
Ioane Tau, 47, of Aele Fou knows this and he believes Samoans should do everything to ensure the land is protected forever.
Ioane is a farmer who commutes from Aele to Tanumalala where he has a plantation.
“I think a lot about the life back here experienced by my parents and my ancestors,” he tells the Village Voice team.
“From then until now, I’ve seen how important it is for us to keep the land and make sure it is protected for our future generations.
“My grandparents did that for me and I am grateful. I need to do the same for my children and their children.”
Ioane said many families migrate to town for a better future.
But he is the opposite.
He is thinking of relocating to where his farm is located.
“We all know families in the rural areas move to town in search of better life,” he said.
“But some people want to move back here. That’s the same case with me. Yes there are more job opportunities in the town areas and it’s also close to many great schools.
“But personally, I find it easier to live here and cultivate my plantation. This is where my family’s future is.”
Ioane says ever since they moved in town there has been much change.
“At Aele, we only had space for the house and we couldn’t really do much else. But here I think we can build more than three houses and we can even plant more and more crops.”
Ioane’s wife works.
But he says the money doesn’t go far.
“My wife’s pay just keeps disappearing every time. We only see money when it arrives and then we go days without it. This is why this plantation is very important to us.”
The best thing about living at Tanumalala is that there is food everywhere.
“In town, you need to buy taro but here you have everything. There is no need to worry. The only requirement is hard work and I am happy to do just that.”
“This land is about 5 acres. I can do a lot with that.
“I have some men to help us out so that we will get to finish early and go home before its dark.”
Lastly, he wants to stress to the government the importance of making sure land is secured for Samoans.
“This is all we have,” he said.
“Without land, we will become nomads in our own country. We will be exiled in our very country which is what we don’t want.
“We are connected to this land and this was given to us to look after and to sustain ourselves.”