When we talk about hardship, struggles and poverty, an element that is often lost in the debate is that there are people who are doing their absolute best to try and get out of it.
We think they deserve credit and a mention for their efforts. Today we want to pay tribute to their hard work, whatever it is that they do.
You see, every time the issue of hardship and poverty comes up, there are many schools of thought. One of them is that most people who are poor, struggling and needy are lazy. They point to a number of able-bodied men and women who do absolutely nothing but sit on their laurels and wait for handouts.
Which is the sad truth because you see many of them everywhere in Samoa.
It is absolutely mind-boggling when you drive from a meeting in Apia and see young men and sometimes women who don’t have jobs, just loafing around during broad daylight, when they could be back home helping their families.
They hang around in street corners, looking at their phones and in some cases, begging for coins and whatever money they could get.
As a worker, there is nothing worse than knowing that you worked your butt off the whole week only to have someone who does absolutely nothing all day ask for money to buy a packet of smokes. That is daylight robbery.
Yet how often does that happen in Samoa? We all have stories to tell.
In some cases, we see able-bodied men rolling out the volleyball net in the afternoon. It seems every day is a holiday for them.
Sometimes when you take a drive to the villages, you see some of them snoring away as early as 10am in their faleo’o. And your mind asks; no wonder they are poor!
Lifestyle choices of course play a big part in some people’s dire circumstances these days. With the arrival of technology like mobile phones and other forms of entertainment, some people would rather spend money to buy phone credits and data plans than invest in their children’s education.
Others would rather buy a bingo paper than food to feed the family. The attitude is not confined there. When it comes to paying the water bills, they would rather spend money on cigarettes, alcohol, phone credits and bingo than paying their water bills. And they are the first people to complain when the Samoa Water Authority disconnects their water source.
Maybe the S.W.A. should start a “cash power” system for water as well. If anything, the cash power system has made consumers so much more aware now about their spending habits.
But getting back to some people getting their priorities wrong, where these people get this kind of mentality from is beyond comprehension. But it is the reality today and we see it in Samoa most times.
Thankfully not everyone is like that. There are people who are poor, needy but they fight tooth and nail to help themselves. These people deserve to be commended.
We see them everywhere too. We are talking about men, women and fa’afafine toiling hard on the streets of Samoa to make money. They range from sellers of fa’alifu, fagu sea, fans, fa’apapa, brooms and all sorts of home made goods.
Folks you cannot help but admire their work ethic.
I know a few of them who walk from village to village with baskets of green coconuts, cooked yams, faalifu talo to sell. Some sell breadfruit when they are in season. Some carry brooms from one end of town to the other.
It’s heartening to say the least. It’s not something pretty to watch but it’s great to know there are people who are not sitting around and whining about the cost of living when they are not prepared to work.
We all know the challenges and the limitations in Samoa when it comes to money. But we also know that people who are prepared to work are blessed.
Now whatever that is, whether it’s a umu to sell or hawking firewood to the market, bless their souls.
We know life is not fair. We accept that corruption at the highest level is hurting the poor and that sometimes it feels like we should just all give up since we simply cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But many of us refuse to. And for that we want to say thank you. To the mothers, women, fathers and boys who are braving the hot sun and pouring rain to feed your children and families, well done.
To the men and women who have had to endure the unfairness in the office, the factory and at work for the sake of helping their families and loved ones, malo lava.
You see; nothing beautiful is ever easy in this life, just as we can never enjoy the daytime if we didn’t have the night. And someone once said that it’s always better to be someone who tried and failed as opposed to someone who was too weak to even try in the first place.
Today, we want to say well done to all the hard working souls in Samoa, whatever it is you do. God blesses the hands that are prepared to work.
Have a productive Friday Samoa, God bless!