The definition of poverty differs from person to person.
If you ask Simati Tia’i, he believes poverty can be defined as the lack of money and sometimes the absence of food.
He knows what it is like.
The man from the villages of Malua and Vaitele said he and his family struggle a lot with having no land, no money and little food.
Yesterday, he was spotted by the Village Voice on the side of the road with his daughter.
“Right now, I admit we have no money and hardly have any food,” he said.
“We just got back from taking some Taula bottles I gathered to the store.
“We got only $7 and we used it to buy two loaves of bread and $3 sugar.”
Simati and his wife work as cleaners.
“We work to maintain this other businessman’s land at Vaitele for $50 a week, sometimes $35.
“So in order to try and get by each day, I walk around to gather Taula and Taxi bottles to earn a little money.”
The father said they are desperate for help.
“Not only do we hardly have money, my wife has special needs,” he said.
“She once fell from a cocoa tree and hit her head.
“Right now, she is very hard to care for and look after. We also need money for her appointments and medical bills.
“The worst part is none of my four children go to school.
“We can’t afford that right now and I don’t know when we will.
“We might have to wait until I get a job that pays well then save before we put them to school. This is why I really need your help.
“I’ve heard most people live off the plantation and I would love to be one of them.
“Like I said before, we are living and maintaining another family’s land at Vaitele, so we cannot develop anything on it because it’s not our land.”
Looking to the future, he is worried.
“I can imagine my children’s lives and what it will be. When I see other kids living a happy and peaceful life, I only dream of putting my kids to school. I don’t care if we eat from the rubbish dump, slaves to other people but I only want my kids to be educated in school.
In tears, Simati humbly requests for help.
“All I want is my kids to go to school. I don’t want them to end up the way we are, struggling and trying to make ends meet. They deserve better and happy lives.”
The father has no phone but if you want to help him and his family please contact the Samoa Observer on 23078. Ask for the Village Voice team.