Village life: It’s harder than you think

By Pai Mulitalo Ale 20 November 2016, 12:00AM

Life in Samoa is a lot harder than many think – well for some families at least.

So says Tiveni Ah Lam, from the village of Falelauniu.

He spoke about how hard it is to live on your plantation alone because you have to wait months before you can earn any money from your crops.

Tiveni explains that during that harvest waiting period, people won’t have any money to pay their everyday expenses.

“Many families who struggle with the cost of living work hard on their plantation to make life a little easier,” he told the Village Voice.

“The only problem with that is that when you plant crops, they don’t grow instantly. It takes a while before you can harvest what you grow.”

“I have a banana and taro plantation. We don’t have many people who are working in my family and we measure the work we do on the plantation against what we need.”

“We have water and electricity bills to worry about and on top of that, we have the school expenses for the children. Life is getting harder and harder.”

Tiveni explains that with the rising cost of living and the lack of opportunities in Samoa, it’s hard to make a living in Samoa when things don’t match up.

“When I visit the shop I realize how expensive things are starting to get,” he said.

“There is a lot of need in Samoa because there aren’t many opportunities for our people. The government says to go and cultivate the dirt but we have to wait a while before we can earn from the crops.”

“It’s easier said than done because there are things you need money for every day and you can’t wait months for your taro to be ready before you can get money to pay it off.”

“That’s not practical.”

Tiveni says that for him personally, he tries to farm to the best of his ability but is faced with many issues.

“We have been living here for about three years now,” he said.

“Only my daughter currently works and earns money for the family. Other than that we don’t have any other way to earn a wage other than my plantation.”

“People are saying that Samoa’s soil is very fertile but the soil in my village isn’t. The only thing that can grow well are bananas and taro.”

“So that means there are expenses going towards the plantation because we need fertilizer to help improve the quality of the soil.”

He says that if you think working a plantation is easy, then take into account all the different factors.

“Living on your plantation alone is tough and there are a lot of factors in play,” Tiveni said.

“If the weather is bad and we have too much sun then the vegetables can die. If we don’t use chemicals then the crops won’t grow properly.”

“Many families in Samoa need more than just a plantation to live on. The government should really look into helping the families who are really struggling.”

Furthermore, Tiveni says that Samoa’s problem is that we generalize things too much. He says people are different, some may suffer and others may not.

“People in Samoa are different,” he said.

“The government looks at a few people who are working and seem to be doing alright and they assume everyone can be like that.”

“They neglect that there are some who are suffering in Samoa. The government should really look and see whose struggling and who’s not.”

By Pai Mulitalo Ale 20 November 2016, 12:00AM

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