Going the extra mile for family

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou 15 September 2016, 12:00AM

Working for the wellbeing of your family is one thing but to go the extra-mile, that’s something to be commended.

The only problem is, sometimes the extra-mile is still not enough.

For 53-year-old Salema Hall from the village of Toāmua, hard work is required every day and if nothing is done… the family will suffer.

“With my family, we live on what we get from the ocean,” she told the Village Voice yesterday.

“As you can see, this is what I do every morning. I bring my basket of Sea Urchins and other sea creatures to the roadside to sell. This is how my family earns a living.”

A peek into Salema’s life shows that her routine is no walk in the park.

“Take it from me, this is one of the hardest things to do to earn money but I do it every day,” she said.

“My daily routine is not an easy one, I wake up at about 5a.m. every morning and I go straight to the ocean. Although the weather is tough at times I still force myself to go gather seas creatures.

“This is all for my family. I have to go the extra mile for my family because there are so many things going on in my family throughout the year,

“There are many cultural activities (fa’alavelave) and that takes a lot of money.”

Even selling her haul for the day is a gamble for Salema.

“I sell my basket of sea urchins for $15 each and on good days I will sell them all,” she said.

“But most of the days my baskets don’t sell out. The ones I don’t sell will be used by the family for food. If I sell six baskets then that is considered a good day and we will have enough money for the day and vice versa.

“But no matter how much we make, a lot of money goes to family things. What’s left over is used for the children; their schooling, their food and so on.

“There are times we have enough money and times we do not. If we don’t have enough money then we just eat taro and drink tea. But when sales are good then we have chicken for dinner.”

Even after working so hard every day, her family still goes through hardships.

“Right now I have two children currently in school,” Salema said.

“I also have two children currently working. But even on good days, my family still struggles… no matter how hard I work, life is sometimes hard.

“Majority of the time we don’t have money because of bad sales and we won’t be able to do things we need to do in the family.”

But Salema will always remain grateful with what she has.

“But I have to be thankful that even though we may not have money at times, we can still get food,” she said.

“There is not much we can do without money. But we are used to it because that’s how life is for us. We try to leave other cultural activities.

“I know in my heart that my family is poor but we still try. We have many needs but no way of getting them. The expensive cost of living is the cause of a lot of our problems.”

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou 15 September 2016, 12:00AM

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