Nothing else to do out here but farm
For many villages far from the centre of Apia, farming is all they have.
The crops they grow are stretched to earn enough to build houses, buy cars and cater to all the family needs as well as cover obligations.
One can imagine that that is no easy task.
Filemoni Esekielu, from the village of Ti’avea, his taro plantation is all he has to earn money for his family.
“Farming taro is the only work we have available to us out here,” he told the Village Voice.
“It’s the only way we can earn a bit of money for our families. Working the land is what we rely on to not only take care of our families, but to also deal with obligations to the church and village.
“We also have cultural activities (fa’alavelave) we need to take care of.”
“There is no other way for us to make money,” he said.
“If we didn’t have our plantation then we would struggle looking for a job to earn money for the family because there aren’t many jobs.
“It’s rare to have anyone in this village employed; everyone has their own plantation to tend to. The only time we need money out here is when we need to build houses or buy a car.
“We also need it for food and it’s hard to get all of that solely from a plantation.”
Filemoni also said that the village committee has done wonders in Tiavea towards making their livelihoods a little better.
“Another way of making money is the women’s weaving,” he said.
“Our village committee has helped make life easier for the people here. They are currently helping women out with weaving mats to earn a bit more money for the family.
“They also help keep the peace out here. The committee helps bring everyone together and we have unity here in Tiavea.
“When a dispute or a fight breaks out then the committee will gather immediately to punish those involved.
“That’s one thing I like about living out here.”
But even though he doesn’t have many options, Filemoni says that life is still good in the village.
“Other than the lack of opportunities, everything is all right out here,” he said.
“The water availability is all right and so is the electricity. The village gets water and it’s not billed so everything is all right in regards to that.
“The government’s water office is doing a good job. Whenever the water pumps are broken they immediately come and fix them.
“The government also appointed someone to deal with cleaning water in the water tanks which is great for our drinking water.”