The tough life of a planter
If you want it, work for it. That is the firm opinion of Aleni Aleni from the village of Faleasiu.
He was spotted by the Village Voice team while selling taro on the side of the road at his village.
“My plantation provides food and when we’re in need of money for family fa’alavelave, then we sell it on the side of the road or the market.”
Aged 50, Aleni understands nothing comes easy.
“For me, the plantation is my life,” he told the Village Voice. “The money we make from it is what we use to take care of everything in the family everyday.
“I have five children and three of them are still in school and my family depends heavily on our plantation for living.”
Everyday life is tough for the father. His days start at the plantation and often he gets home when its pitch black.
“But I have to do it because if I don’t, then my family will starve to death.”
Aleni’s understands that life is simple when we work hard.
“If I don’t work then my children won’t eat,” he said.
“If you want to take care of your children and family then you must make an effort, get up and get to work!
“We all know that our family must always come first, and other obligations can come after...so I always put my family first.”
There are challenges. Like the fact he doesn’t have a car.
“When we need to bring our crops here and the market we have to find a ride,” he said.
“When I harvest, I sometimes deliver crops to the supermarkets in town, it’s really hard most of the time but my family keeps me going.
“You know how far it is from here to town, and we pay a lot of money to deliver our crops to the market.
“We all know that it’s not that cheap to pay for taxi, when we need a ride to town and other parts of the country.
“Not only that, but I work alone, because my wife is taking the kids to school.”
And with the cost of living, life isn’t getting any easier.
“Life is just so expensive nowadays,” he said.
“The price of everything is increasing and what is really sad is the fact that many people in our country don’t understand this because we don’t pay attention.
“I used to work but I quit because my pay didn’t meet all our daily needs. To be honest, the cost of living is killing us bit by bit everyday.”