Surviving on six tala some days
Sina Tavita, from the village of Faleula, knows how hard it is to survive with little money. On some tough days, she has to budget as little as $6 tala for her children and elderly parents.
The 24-year-old stays at home to take care of her children and elderly parents.
Without a steady source of income, she says life is a real struggle.
“The one thing I know for sure is that here in Samoa, there is no poverty when it comes to food, but when it comes to making money, that’s where there’s a problem,” Sina told the Village Voice.
“Yes we have an abundance of food growing here in Samoa but that doesn’t mean life is easy for everyone. The way I see it, the days are getting harder and harder to get by.
“Things are already very expensive and when the Prime Minister announces the increase in price for anything, the level of worry I feel goes through the roof.”
Sina explained that not everyone in Samoa is in the same boat, which means that not everyone has a steady paying job.
“Not everyone is employed in Samoa; personally, no one in my family has a job,” she said. “So when we hear an announcement of an increase in price then I get worried and angry because we don’t have enough money to cover some of the basic needs.
“I live with my little family and my elderly parents here at home. Yes we can grow food but we need money to cover other things in life but how can we make money when no one in our family is working?
“That’s why I say that Samoa has no poverty when it comes to food but there is poverty because majority of Samoa don’t have the opportunity to make a lot of money to deal with expensive costs.
“These days, when I hold $100 it feels like it’s only $2 because everything is so expensive.”
Sina’s everyday worry is how she will take care of her family with the little she makes from her roadside market stall.
“That’s the only thing that worries me a lot,” she said.
“Everything is getting more and more expensive which means items are becoming more and more unaffordable for my little family.
“I was working before at the Red Cross but as my parents got older I decided it was best that I stay home and take care of them. My father has gotten very old and he needs me around the house and in the cookhouse.
“That’s why I am unemployed right now.”
Sina works hard every day to take care of her family but not much can be done when she sometimes has to go through the day with only $6 in hand.
“Since we don’t have much money, I would have to spend about 50cents to a dollar to get something nice for him to eat,” she said.
“Sometimes I would buy a packet of biscuits for $2.50 and that lasts us the entire day. I sell crops in front of the house to make a bit of money and I would make about $15 a day.
“On bad days I would make about $6 for our family to survive on. We use that money to feed the children, the elders, things for tea, sugar and things for the babies like diapers and milk.
“That’s how life is for my little family.”