My children are my priority
Struggles and hardship don’t matter.
For Sola Ivale, from the village of Faleula, it is the future of his children that does.
Aged 51, Sola is a fisherman who works as hard as he can to make ends meet. He lives with his wife Maria and his two children.
“No matter how tough life gets, my family’s priority will always be our children,” Sola told the Village Voice.
“My son has trouble speaking and is very shy, he currently schools at Loto Taumafai and we are glad that the school does a lot for him.
“Doing whatever we can for him is one of our priorities. My children are my everything.”
Sola explains that one of the reasons his family struggles is because the cost of living is increasing at an alarming rate.
He says that you can’t match the money an average Samoan makes with the high cost of living we are now experiencing.
“Right now it’s hard not to say that the cost of living is way too high,” he said.
“And on top of that, we have children to put through school; it’s not easy at all. For my family, it seems that we have way more children schooling than those working.
“We also have bills to pay and obligations to take care of. We sometimes wonder where we’re going to get the money from to cover everything.”
With no one holding a steady job except for his son overseas, Sola says it’s not easy to get money in his family. He makes a real effort out at sea but he can only earn so much with it.
“I admit that in my household, no one has a job except for my son,” he said.
“We have two children in school with one of them attending Loto Taumafai. When we need money then I always make my way to the ocean to catch some fish or look for something to sell.
“Everything is very expensive nowadays and we just can’t afford what we need.”
But with the help of his son in New Zealand, everything is made a little easy.
“Through this entire struggle, we are grateful for our son in New Zealand, who provides much for this family,” Sola said.
“He helps our family and sends money when needed. But in between assistance sent from my son, I work hard to provide for my family through my trips to the ocean.
“The hard thing about earning a living this way is that when I get sick or lose my strength then my family will suffer because we don’t know where else to get the money.
“And on very good days where I earn a lot from fishing, it still doesn’t match the cost of living we currently have.
“Whatever I get, whether its $10 or $50, I have to stretch that to cover the entire week.”