“Being a farmer is hard labor work but that is the end result for someone like me who did not complete education.”
So is the opinion of Ene Tama of Solosolo.
The Village Voice met up with Ene while he was waiting for a bus to head to the market to sell his taro. Ene has been a farmer since he was 16 years old, when he dropped out of school.
The youngest of four children, Ene says that while he’s the baby of the family, that don’t make it any different.
“I have to work as hard like my older siblings,” he said.
“Other families they spoil the baby of the family, but I don’t let my family treat me like a baby.
“I dropped out of school. I did that on my own and so these are the consequences, I have to work as hard as my older siblings.”
Asked about money collected from the farm, Ene said their family has a big farm and they take two-three sacks of taro to the market once a week.
“We get $250-$300 a week, and you know what is so funny about people to come and buy my taro. We don’t go to the market every week; we sometimes sell our produce on the streets here.
“They think its easy, to farm and they always ask for a discount, sometimes I just want to tell them, just take it for free,” said Ene while chuckling.
“I don’t know why they do that, its not as if they go to the Asian stores and they ask for a discount. That never happens.”
Ene told Village Voice that his sister lives in Auckland, New Zealand and sometimes helps out they family by sending money.
Regarding water problems in Solosolo, Ene said the water is controlled by the Village Council and so it’s up to them when it’s turned on and off.
“The entire village is subjected to this and we don’t have a choice, they are the chiefs of the village and so they are the ones in charge.
“Luckily for Solosolo, the water is not metered so the village does not pay any money to the council.” In the long run, Ene wants to be a carpenter like his father.
“I love working the land and helping my older siblings but at the same time, I think about the future when I have my own family. “I want to provide for them but I don’t them to have to work the land like me.
“I love farming but I want to do as a hobby to feed my family, but not depend on it for family obligations.
“Sometimes we don’t sell any taro on the road side or at the market. However having a steady job means steady income, that is what I want in the future and I have applied for carpentry positions.
“My father has taken me along during his jobs, and I enjoy it even more...... more than farming I must admit.”