Meet 50-year-old Malo Tala from Siumu. He told the Village Voice that life is getting tougher by the day.
“I was born and raised in Siumu and I have to admit that the struggles I am experiencing in terms of money is worrying,” he said.
“To me, this is the only issue I can think of now - the everyday life and how expensive the cost of living is today.”
“I [have] worked as a taxi driver for more than ten years and this is the only job that I can provide for my family financially.
“Many years ago, I was in and out, hoping from one job to another job ... finally I decided on driving a taxi.”
“Yes, I was looking at ways to earn more money for my family.”
He says the problem is what he earns still cannot accommodate the high cost of living in Samoa.
“The prices for all the things in this country have increased from time to time and the pay people receive is not enough to cover [their] everyday needs.”
“For example, no matter how much money I get every day it’s just like I’m holding 20sene.”
But despite this, Malo continues to use this to motivate him to continue driving, “my one and only wish is for my family to survive and have a better life”.
“I am starting this year off the usual way like driving around the island to earn a bit of money for my family who is in real need of it,” he said. But he understands there are other families that are in the same corner. He told the village voice that - ‘there are challenges’
“For your information, this job isn’t easy, I come every morning and deal with the hot sun and the rain, so that I can earn what I can for my family.” He said, “even though the job of being a taxi driver is humbling”.
But it is an honest way to earn a living. He says that the taxi drivers face challenges daily.
“My biggest motivation is to ensure that my family have bread on the table daily and that the children are taken care of and all our needs are met.”
“I have to keep on working with hope that someday, somewhere the government will decrease the cost of living especially the prices on goods and services.”
“That’s the only hope now for Samoa. If not, our children will suffer in the next few years.”