Getting those priorities correct

Maria Sagapotele, from the village of Saleimoa, strongly believes that everyone’s lives depend on how they look at it.

With those saying life is tough; Maria says that it’s only tough if you don’t have the correct priorities. For those saying life is expensive, Maria says it’s hasn’t, it’s just that people prefer expensive things.

Aged 44, Maria’s family doesn’t face any problems because she has her priorities in line.

“Right now there are no major problems faced by my family,” she told the Village Voice.

“My family and I are Mormons and we have rules against things that normally cause family problems. We are not allowed to gamble which wastes a lot of money. “With the rules imposed by the Mormon Church, it gives us the opportunity to prioritize our family.”

With four people in the family currently employed, Maria still tries to do her part at home by working hard in their farm.

“We have four people in our family who are currently employed,” she said.

“The money my family earns is enough to go around but we always have to remember that as soon as we get money, we must put aside our tithes.

“Aside from the money the employed family members make, we also have our plantation to rely on. We have our plantation further inland because there are too many pigs around here.

“A lot of families in this village have pigs and they really affect plantation growths. It’s tough because we can’t just shoot the pigs because we understand that the pigs are another family’s source of income so we don’t want to take that away from them.”

According to Maria, there is absolutely no such thing as poverty in Samoa.

“A family only suffers from hunger because they just laze around,” she said.

“If a family doesn’t work together to earn enough for daily needs then they won’t get anything. In Samoa there is no such term as poverty.

“We are given this land by the Lord to work and provide for those we love. If you  waste a lot of time on sitting around, then you won’t get anywhere.

“Spend your time growing bananas to get money. You can earn from livestock and every type of vegetable.

“There are also so many people who complain saying that life has become expensive. Yes there are expensive products out there but I stay away from those.

“We know that some of the shops are trying to earn a profit but there are cheaper ways. In my village our shops are alright and they keep prices low for the villagers.

“I don’t think life is expensive, just people preference.”

Every day for Maria is jam packed with work but she does it with all her strength.

“Every day I would wake up early in the morning and give thanks to the Lord before I start my day,” she said.

“I would then get the children ready for school before I start working on the plantation. I would then feed the animals and then cook food to wait for the children to get home.

“I would also do the laundry and other common chores around the house.”

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