While many children were enjoying Christmas shopping with their parents in Apia yesterday, spare a thought for young Talele Misipele.
The 16-year-old was spotted at the S.N.P.F Plaza yesterday, pushing through the crowd to sell chips so he could help his parents buy some food for Christmas.
It was muggy and wet day yesterday.
And although it was a busy day, not many people were interested in locally made chips. This made Talele’s task even harder.
“I’m trying to sell this stuff (chips) so that I could go back to my village and family before five o’clock today,” he told the Sunday Samoan.
“I’d rather be out there having fun with my friends but if I don’t sell this stuff, we will not have food for tomorrow.”
Talele was among many vendors like him who used the Christmas rush to try and make some money. They have become part of the furniture of the Apia township where they are seen hassling shoppers for a sale or some money.
For Talele, he was a long way from Satapuala.
But it’s a feeling he knows very well.
He has been doing this for a few years now.
“I know tomorrow is Christmas and children expect gifts and presents,” he said.
“Personally I don’t want a Christmas present. My only wish for this Christmas is to be with my parents and family."
“That’s why I’ll keep working hard to sell this stuff so we can get some nice food tomorrow. I don't care what people think or say about me. I just want to help my family.”
Talele’s ideal Christmas lunch includes some mamoe and fasi povi masima.
But he knows it’s a long stretch given what he earns. It means he might have to settle for chicken and taro.
But for him, it doesn’t matter.
What he does know is that Christmas is about families and it’s about sharing.
“I’ve always wanted to do this to help my family,” he said.
“We don’t have that much everyday but the little money we get from selling these chips help us a lot.”
When school is back on, Talele attends A’ana College.
“My dream is to get a good paying job so that my family can count on me in the future. I want to do well in school because I believe this is the only way to success – is through education!”
When Talele spoke with the Sunday Samoan yesterday, he said he’d sold a few chips.
“It’s not a lot of money that I get from selling these chips but at least there is something there,” he said.
“This (money) helps my family to survive and buy us food for Christmas. I can’t wait to go home.”