Samoa is not poor, says street vendors

Samoa is a land of opportunity for big and small entrepreneurs.

That is the view of four street vendors, who spoke of their lives selling products on the streets of Apia, in separate interviews with the Samoa Observer.

Lotu Auva’a, 45, said life in Samoa is different when compared to other overseas nations, as it is easy to identify opportunities when one is out of a job.  

“We’re not like overseas once you’re unemployed, your life gets harder. In Samoa, we just have to open our eyes to these small opportunities,” he said.

The opportunities in the country are easy to come by, he added, that people should not bother their families abroad for remittances.

“Our people should realize now and then that there’s money and food everywhere, and we don’t need to ask overseas for help,” he said.

The other street vendors Genesis Samasogi, Tulai Gauula and Kome Filitoga told this newspaper that they are breadwinners in their families. They sell products for Apia-based Chinese businessmen, who pay each of them $50 tala or more a day for their work, which they say is enough to support them and their families. 

Street vending also enables vendors to meet their cultural and church obligations, added Mr. Auva’a. 

“In a Samoan life, we cannot avoid our church and village faalavelaves so in my situation, I have been working as a street vendor for quite some time now and I can still afford to provide for both my family and my church,” he said.

Mr. Auva’a said while street vending might not appear to be a “decent job” for others, he said he is happy that such opportunities are available. 

“I mean it’s not a decent job for anyone because we all want lots of money, but for situations like these where we have to look for jobs, Samoa is lucky to have such small opportunities on the line.”

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