Working hard is the life of Toluao Tupua. The 53-year-old father from the village of Sapapali’i, Savai’i does this because he knows life is getting tougher by the day.
“The high cost of living is killing us every day and that’s the truth,” Toluao told the Village Voice.
“We all know that Savai’i, Upolu, Apolima, Manono face the same problem. I don’t have to explain it because we are all in the same situation.”
Toluao is a father of six. One of his sons is working in New Zealand and he is the right hand of the family.
“Others have their own jobs and they all contribute in their own way.”
Looking at the way life is, Toluao said education is the key.
“Yes we know that education empowers our young ones and if we fail today, who’s going to suffer tomorrow?”
“Our children will suffer, I mean the whole country will suffer, our future generations will suffer.”
Toluao did not have the best education but he worked hard to ensure his children did not follow him.
“Our family has a plantation. When my children were in school, the plantation paid their school fees, their uniforms, as well as the many fa’alavelave and other obligations.”
“I have always told my children, that they have to work hard so they don’t have to rely on others for a living.”
The plantation also provides food.
“I prefer to use the food from our plantation to feed my family rather than selling it for money,” he said. As for life in Savai’i, Toluao said it is relaxing.
“I think the only time we need money is when it comes to fa’alavelave, and other obligations but food is everywhere.”
“I’m not saying this because my family is not struggling but our people are used to the way we live. Sometimes all we need is a faalifu and tea.”
Looking at the future, the father said it’s important to encourage young people to do their best.
“Life is not that easy. We need to push our children to use whatever talents they have whether it’s education, art, sport - I mean whatever, at least those talents will help them and their families in the future.”
“We have to use whatever we have now, to develop and support our families.”
He went on to say that he always encourages his children.
“They need to be smart, life isn’t easy anymore, if they fail today while we (parents) are still alive, no one will be there for them tomorrow.”
“They also have to obey while they still have us...they need to work hard.”
“They need to listen first and complain after.”
And what does a good father mean to him?
“To always be good no matter what,” he explained.
“To be good in the face of failure, because sometimes being the best means being the least.”
“Being a good father means you have to love the people who hurt you, sometimes being good is when you make difficult and tough choices that may hurt the people you love.
“To be honest, being good is what keeps my family together.”