Family survives off fishing

Be patient and calm. No one can catch fish in anger.

That’s one of the number one rules for 57-year-old Toleafoa Sanerivi from Utuali’i.

The Village Voice met him while on his way to fish on the other side of his village.

Toleafoa has six children and three of them work while the other three are still in school.

He said fishing helps in so many ways especially by providing “food on the table and pays for their basic daily needs.”

“Even though that some of my children works but this is my life, I want to help and contribute as well because we hardly cope with the high cost of living.”

Being the breadwinner of his family, fishing is the best way to make money for his family.

He said he would go fishing at least three days in a week to make a living and to put his three children through school.

“As I’ve mentioned before I have children who have jobs but I don’t want to rely on them, and we all know that no matter how many money we have in our hands every day, the high cost of living takes it all in one go.”

He considers fishing and providing for his family a blessing.  

“As you can see this is the work I do daily to take care of our families,” he told the Village Voice.

“If the catch is good then we get some money to cover some basic needs for the day.”

“Yes, my children have grown but I am still strong to do this.”

Toleafoa says he values his fishing net just like how he values his children.

“I contribute and help with church and village commitments,” he said.

He believes that life may be expensive but we have a way of dealing with it.

“We (family) just have to work harder... I know fishing is better than the minimum pay people are getting right now.” 

“We may have nothing some days but it’s not necessary to me because my kid’s school expenses are more first priority.”

Asked about any issues, Toleafoa says the weather is sometimes a problem.

“That’s the only issue we face is the weather because if it’s not good then we have to look at the dangers we face when going out to sea,” he said.

“That’s the only thing that worries us; we must always consider the safety of our people and make it our priority to stay safe.”

Aside from that, he said life in the village was simple.

“If you just laze around then you will go hungry,” he said.

“I don’t know why people are lazy; the way I see it, we villagers can earn a lot more money from our work than those who are employed.”

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