58 year old, Aitupe Fa’atau, from the village of Tanumalala strongly believes that Samoa is rich and blessed with land and that should be enough proof that there is no poverty in Samoa.
Humbled by the blessings she has received from tending her plantation with her children, Aitupe says that village life is simple and joyous.
“Life is great and simple,” she told the Samoa Observer.
“Living in these rural villages is where you can find happiness. My family works hard to make ends meet such as planting cabbages, taro, pumpkins, and bananas.
“Even though I am old I find strength living out here, the air is clean and life is simple.”
Aitupe is confused whether Samoa has poverty or not but she is convinced that people are only poor if they are lazy.
“I don’t know if there is poverty in Samoa,” she said.
“The one thing I am sure of is that people are only poor if they do not work. The Lord blessed us with land to tend to, land that can provide food for the family and money through the sales of crops.
“People have poverty only if they are lazy; there is so much money in Samoa and there are many ways you can get money.”
Aitupe is also proud with the fact that her family could be an example for other villagers; managing her land properly, Aitupe claims that they make quite a bit from her crops.
“My family and I earn money by selling what we get from our plantation,” she said.
“There is so much you can do with your land; we plant yams, taro, banana, cucumber and so many other crops.
“I have children that live with their spouses and they work to look after their own family; but my sons I have living here with me; we live off the land.
“We go to the market everyday from Monday till Saturday to earn money and we make over $500 a week; that what we make from our plantation alone.
“I know that our land is a blessing so we always give thanks to God for everything. Our family doesn’t believe in making loans; if we want something then we will work for it. We also don’t purchase things on I.O.U’s.
“Our Lord will always provide for us through hard work.”
With the rising number of child vendors in Samoa, Aitupe says that those desperate families create an illusion of poverty in Samoa but in fact, they are just lazy.
“Every time I come in to town I always see child vendors and it breaks my heart,” she said.
“I don’t know if the family is living in poverty but I assume that their parents are just lazy and don’t want to work. So they send their children to make money for them.
“I also know that the people who move to town are often the ones who are desperate enough to send their children out on the streets.
“If people just stayed in their respective villages then they will be alright, there is so much opportunity our here. Just look at me; I am sitting on top of money.
“My sons have jobs but when they finish work then they come and work the land.”