You don’t have to be rich to be happy.
So believes Fotu Mata from the village of A’ele.
Aged 54, Fotu is a father of six. He is an employee at the R&R Contracting Company.
Fotu may not be the richest man on earth, but he is always happy, he told the Village Voice.
“You know life is a beautiful gift from God; we should appreciate it and make the most of it as we only live once.”
He went on to say that he has a lot to be grateful in this life.
“People say that there is no place like home. And I couldn’t agree more to that, because for me, home is the one place that I find true happiness.
“And to be honest with you, Samoa is home for me and I am grateful to God for this beautiful country he had given us.
“To tell you the truth, no matter how glittery and shiny the lifestyle in other countries may be, I will never trade it for the life we have in Samoa.
“To me, there is no other country like Samoa,” he said.
“I love everything about this country. I call this “home” and no matter where I go, Samoa will always be the on the top of my list.”
Fotu has a long list of why he loves Samoa. However, topping that list is the fact that most people live freely on their own lands in Samoa.
“We live happily and freely on our own lands. That’s the same for me and my family.
“Life is peaceful in Samoa.”
He went on to say that life is comfortable and easy in Samoa.
“You see, we don’t have wars in Samoa. People can walk freely without even worrying that someone might shoot you with a gun.
“It’s not like other countries where thousands are killed every single day.
“For us here in Samoa, everything is peaceful.”
Nevertheless, the easy lifestyle is another reason why he prefers living in Samoa.
“Easy in the sense that we have been blessed with rich environment and natural resources that is found in Samoa.
“I’ve been to other countries too. And I am sure you are all aware that in those countries, they need money for everything.
“And if you have no money, you will starve and your family will suffer. It is a must for you to have a job in order to pay the bills and buy food.
“However, that is not the case for us here in Samoa. You know for me sometimes, I don’t have money.
“A boiled taro (saka talo) and tea is enough for me sometimes.”
When Village Voice caught up with him, he was resting at this friend’s house recovering from an injury.
Asked if he supports critics from other members of the public about the high cost of living, he said no.
“You see the thing is, there are a lot of other ways to do in order to solve that.
“For our village, people do all sorts of development to help and assist their families.
“For some families, they own banana and taro plantations. For some, they earn money by planting and harvesting peanuts.
“Others work day and night to provide for their families.”
He is a true believer that where there is a will, there is always a way.
Nevertheless, he also believes that there is a good reason why the cost of living is expensive.
“The reason why the cost of living is expensive is because we are all moving forward. The whole world is moving forward.
“And the cost of goods and services are increasing too. So we can’t just stop while the world is moving forward.
“The government are using that money to develop our country.”
He also praised the government.
“I take my hat off to the government for their efforts and hard work in developing Samoa.
“We can see a lot of improvements in terms of roads, schools, hospitals and other areas.”