Peleiupu Soifuaga still smiles.
At 89 years old, her life is one well lived.
Originally from the village of Patamea, Savai’i, she now resides at Vaitele-Uta.
Over the years, she has seen so much change in Samoa.
“Every time I think back to my young days in my village, Vaipapa, I get shocked by how much has actually changed,” she said.
“My husband, children and I all grew up there and I would take care of the family and the children’s schooling using coconuts.
“Even though the money I would make from the coconuts was small, it was still alright because the goods from the stores were cheap back then.
“Even though we didn’t have any chicken for meals, if we were able to get some tin fish for dinner then we are seen as a millionaire family.”
Peleiupu also explained that having a can of tin fish back in the days was equivalent to having chicken leg now.
“On Sundays we would get tin fish and it was as if we were eating chicken legs,” she said.
“But nowadays, if we offer tin fish to the children then they complain and reject it. Back then we would have tea and some taro all day. Even if we didn’t have much we never really worried much about it.
“We have too many foreign foods everywhere nowadays and it makes the children picky.”
With the growing number of diseases in Samoa such as diabetes, Peleiupu says that the introduction of foreign foods into the Samoan diet has a big part to play in it.
“The high number of foreign food is also the cause of all the sickness in Samoa,” she said.
“I think the reason why I have lived so long is because i rejoice at whatever i get. Whether it’s just a cup of tea then I will still be happy no matter what.”
Despite having a nice peaceful life in Patamea, Peleiupu and the family thought that it might be better to venture closer to the country’s C.B.D.
“We were doing very well with life in the village but the children wanted a place closer to town for us to live so that’s why we are here now,” she said.
“When we moved here we were one of the first families here and on the other side there was a very large plantation.”
Without many people around Vaitele-Uta at the time, life was no longer easy and peaceful.
“There weren’t many houses around and we started off rough here,” Peleiupu said.
“We had to try and get accustomed to our new home fast. There were also no churches in the area; there were just a lot of coconut trees and grass patches everywhere.
“At the end of 1988, there were many families in these lands and that’s when we finally started a church here.”
But as time went by, things became better and better for Peleiupu and her family.
“The changes over time are not all that bad,” she said.
“I say this because now we have a church close by and we also have good opportunities for our children. We have a lot of good schools to give them a better education than what we got.
“I am also happy that our nation is founded on God, that is where we will continue to get our strength from.”