An election candidate contesting the seat for Falealili East, Fuimaono Atanoa Aloali’i Alex Wright, knows what it is like to be poor. A few days from polling day, Fuimaono says he is driven to help transform lives of his constituents so they don’t suffer what he went through.
“I know first-hand what it is like to live as a poor person,” Fuimaono tells the Sunday Samoan.
“This is why one of my main aims for my district is to help improve the standard of living of all families in the district.”
Born in their family's maota at Salani and Alofisula, Fuimaono vividly remembers living in a faleo’o with river stones on the floor.
“My father was the sole breadwinner of the family, through his job as a bus driver and lorry driver for one of the businesses in town.
“My parents Salele and Foketi saw all their five children finish their schooling at Samoa College all on Salele’s salary of $40 a week. “I remember that we walked everywhere in those days, as my family couldn’t afford a car let alone bus fares.”
His parents eventually moved to Tanugamanono to give their children a better chance of having an education. From Salani Primary School, Fuimaono completed the rest of his primary schooling at Malifa and from there he went to Samoa College.
Fuimaono’s enduring admiration and respect for his uncles Fuimaono Mimio and Fuimaono Atanoa Lotomau (members of parliament from his district of Falealili from the 1980s to the 1990s) is one of the reasons he is contesting the elections.
“Despite the advances in the standard of living all over Samoa in general, there are still many families in my district who are in a situation where three generations of the family live together in a faleo'o or a couple of faleo'o clustered together,” Fuimaono said.
“I believes the solution to end the poverty cycle is education, and continuing education. If I’m successful in the election, I will make sure there are schemes in place to assist families to complete secondary schooling for their children and send them to university, or further education to obtain skills that they can use to generate income or find decent employment.”
Fuimaono also believes skills training support in farming and keeping livestock is critical for Samoa.
He believes that starting and managing a small business, sewing, weaving, cooking and other areas, will help the members of his district improve their ability to support themselves and put extra dollars in their pockets.
Elsewhere, he said there are access roads needed to the plantations of Salani, Salesatele, Sapoe, Utulaelae and Siuniu, for better access to most families’ source of livelihood. “My main objective in this election campaign is to be the voice of my district in government, to carry their message into the offices and halls where decisions are made regarding development of the country and districts,” he said.
“I want to tap into the assistance available through government or development partner support to undertake the needed developments in the district.
“At the end of the day, my driving motivation is to help improve the lives of people in my beloved district.”
Fuimaono hopes that come 4 March 2016, the voters of Falealili East will make the decision to let him do just that.
Fuimaono Alex is up against four other candidates including Fuimaono Esera Rimoni, Tofuaiofoia Falefa Lima, Fuimaono Teo Samuelu and Maiava Viiga Fuimaono.