A meal with Samoa’s street vendor

Dear Editor

Re: The plight of the poor in times of happiness 

During the Christmas of 2016, I had the pleasure of inviting a few street business entrepreneurs to dine with my family, at one of the restaurants in Matautu, Apia.

What an eye opener it was, to hear the many stories told by these youngsters, just to be able to survive.

To help there families, they sell anything, sometimes putting a price on themselves...I asked them what they thought about the P.M. and the H.R.P.P. government.

Out of the mouth of babies the truth about Samoa emerged ... we laughed together, I was surprised. One young lad looked at me with intense seriousness and asked me if I knew what the Samoa P.M.’s name really was? 

Then he went on by explaining that Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, does not care about him, and all the children forced to sell things, staying up all hours, just, so their families can have some money for food, medicine or for one of the children’s school fees.

I was fortunate and thankful to have parents that supplied all our daily needs, the Samoa I knew growing up at that time, was so different as there weren’t so many people living around Apia area. 

As more people migrate from villages to the town, more problems will arise.

These children have dreams of becoming Doctors, Actors, Teachers, business owners, singers and dancers, but amongst these children, one said, e tele atu tupe a maua pe a faatu se fale paumutu (we can earn more money if a whorehouse is set up).

All the other children quickly told this child off and said He should aim high and become the Samoa’s P.M. in future. 

Trying to make light of a serious issue, back to the reality, we will have a meal together, then I leave, they go back to selling and stay up all hours, may be, some of these youngsters won’t or couldn’t make it to this Year.

We said a prayer, and said our goodbyes. My heart breaks to see so much poverty in paradise. Samoa, The place I call home...What to do?


Sarona Puni Saifaleupolu

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