Age is just a number for 72-year-old mother and grandmother, Foloi Kukolu when it comes to providing for her children and grandchildren.
Village Voice visited Foloi at her Afega home as she was busy trying to collect wood to build a fire to cook the koko beans.
“Life is hard if you make it out to be that, for me I have been raising my only daughter on my own and she’s married with four children.
Even at my age I am still taking care of our family.
“A mother’s job never ends until the day she leaves this earth,” said the devoted mother. She told the Village Voice that selling koko samoa and coconuts on the side of the road or at the market in Afega helped raised her family over the years.
“I am thankful that even at my age, I am more than able to conduct my motherly duties, not only for my daughter but also my grandchildren.”
Her grandchildren are her pride and joy but the mother also spoke up about the difficulties of life.
“Life is hard, that is a fact, but what you make of it is up to you. You can either nag about it or just get up and get things underway for an easier life. “Nothing is handed to you on a platter; you have to earn every penny, unless you’re a millionaire.”
At home Foloi said the challenges her family face are water outages.
“When water is out of commission its usually takes up to three days, then it’s on again.
“I’m not really happy with the water services, if we don’t pay our bills on time, they disconnect our water right away.
“But when the water isn’t working, we have to wait for days. I understand that we are not the only family they but they should consider that water is a daily necessity.”
Every day, Foloi collects coconuts and gets her koko samoa ready for sale either at the market where there are a lot of customers.
“But when I’m sick or tired, I sell next to the road, across from my house.” Foloi finds it hard to believe that tourists and locals who come to buy her produce always ask for a discount.
“I look at these people and think they don’t know the basic thing of making koko. It’s a lengthy process and so between 7-10 tala is the price for one koko. But sometimes when they ask for a discount and the fact that they may be my last customer of the day, I end up selling it for 5 tala.”
She said that weekly, she collects about 60-80 tala and on the good days she makes up to 150 tala.