“No pain, no gain.”
So says 23-year-old Mikaele Viliamu from Taga, Savaii.
Mr. Viliamu was spotted selling printed ie lavalava at the wharf at Salelologa, Savai’i for $10 a sheet.
He told the Village Voice despite the high cost of living and the hard life he, his wife and two children are doing okay thanks to the God given talent that he’s got which is printing and designing.
“When I was young I attended Leulumoega School of Art. It was there that I learned everything about designing and drawing as well as printing elei,” he told the Village Voice.
“At a young age I promised myself that I will never work under anyone because I’m the kind of person who does not want to be told what to do.
“I was always independent and so therefore I set my goal at a young age that one day I will be my own boss.
“I learned all that I needed to know from the school of art until I graduated from there.
“So when I got married I had a small business where I designed my own elei for my ie lavalava and I go and sell them. I will sell them around the village but most of the times I come here to the wharf because this is where I get most of my customers and it’s good money.”
Mr. Viliamu said he earns about $500 tala a week and sometimes he gets more.
“Its good money but most of all I am my own boss,” he said.
“I design in a way that I know is perfect and will sell without anyone telling me what to do and what not to do.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that you work for you and your loved ones and for my case I’m working for my family and especially my children.
“They (my children) are my biggest motivation because I don’t want them to grow up suffering I want them to have the best life and mostly, the best education.”
Viliamu agreed that the cost of living is high and that life is getting harder and harder every day.
However, he also believes that these kind of challenges should not stop us from aiming high. “As a matter of fact”, he said, “it should encourage us to go the extra mile for the sake of our families”.
“We all suffer, and we all go through hard times but that should help us to become stronger,” he said.
“I do this because I want to teach my children that nothing in this is ever easy and that they should never depend on anyone.
“They have to work hard because if they don’t sweat they will never get anywhere if they take the easy way out.
“And I think that should be an encouragement to others who say life is hard but they are not doing anything to build up their families.
“And especially, this is a father’s responsibility to sweat and work hard to make sure that his family will make it through each and every day.”