Struggling with the menacing cost of living

Life is certainly not a stroll in the park. With increasing cost of store-bought goods and wages remaining the same; the occasional fa’alavelave which takes so much money; it definitely isn’t easy in Samoa.

For Siatiu Ropati Auvaa, from the village of Toamua, she admits that her family goes through a lot of struggles.

“To answer you with complete honesty, these days, there is much struggle in Samoa,” she told the Village Voice.

“My family is lucky that we pray a lot and the Lord continues to provide. The Lord is the only way to make anyone’s struggles a little easier to handle.” 

“But every day for my family is no walk in the park.”

Siatiu says her family would constantly walk very long distances if it meant saving 10cents on an item they wish to purchase.”

“One of the reasons we struggle is the cost of living being so high,” she said.

“We would walk long distances to get to store that sells what we need at a cheaper price. Even if it means we’re only saving a measly 10cents.”

“Everything counts for my family. That 10cents can go a long way for my family because it can go towards helping pay for bills or even food for the family.”

“No matter what, everyone needs money to live.”

Asked for a small glimpse into her family’s daily life, Siatiu says they struggle a lot.

“My family goes through a lot on a daily basis,” she said.

“We sometimes can’t afford to send our children to school, we share our house with a few family members, and searching for enough money every day is not easy.”

“You can grow your own food or do whatever to make a living, but without money, life will become tough for you. Money is needed for pretty much everything in this life.”

“The land we are living on is leased to us and we have to pay $80 a week for it. If you look around, you will notice that there’s only enough space for our house and nothing for a plantation.”

“So even if we wanted to grow our own food, we simply can’t.”

Siatiu says that her family migrated to Upolu from Savaii with hopes of a better life but was only met with more struggles.

“We are actually from Savaii,” she said.

“The only reason we moved here is so that we can closer to the schools for our children and it will be easier to look for work.”

“My husband is currently working as a carpenter and my son works for Taula and it hasn’t been long since he started.”

“Even with the money they make, it is not enough after paying for all the different bills and the food for the family.”

“Aside from that, we have obligations that we need to take care of too.”

But at the end of the day, no matter how tough things get, Siatiu and her family remain happy.

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