A father’s plea for help

By Ilia L Likou 10 February 2017, 12:00AM

The cost of living is rising faster than wages. That is the view of Aumua Fono from the village of Musumusu, Fagaloa.

“I’m not sure what kind of future our children will have if the cost of living continues this way,” he said.

“The truth now is that many can’t afford to live off their wages, yes, salaries do not match the high cost of goods in the country.”

He takes his family as an example.

“For my family, it is just me and my wife and our youngest son, he’s the one that provides for   our family,” he admitted.

“My older ones (children) have all grown up and have their own families, so I think there’s no need to bother them for I know the struggles and hardships of raising a family.

“But they always (children) help us out whenever we have fa’alavelaves and other obligations.”

His son who provides for his wife and him is a college graduate but was unable to complete his studies at the National University of Samoa.

“It was my son’s wish to stop his studies and instead find  a job to help us with our struggles.

“His school fee was a financial burden and he is now employed at one of the local hotels and is paid $100 a week.” 

He gave a breakdown of his son’s pay; “ he gives us $60 and he keeps $25 for his bus fare [for the week]”.

Although, he is thankful and grateful to his son and they manage to survive on such a small amount of money they wouldn’t be able to if his other children didn’t help whenever they can.

“I understand that my son isn’t the only working person suffering from this demise. 

“My son isn’t the only person, and we’re not the only family that deals with trying to be wise when it comes to budgeting money.

“That money ($50) only helps our family for one day, lucky my wife buys sugar and rice to last the whole week or more.

“Yes life is hard.”

Aumua understands most of his son’s pay goes towards deductions for his National Provident Fund contribution leaving only a small amount.

“It’s not that much, but we try to budget wisely, yes our people’s salaries do not match the cost of living.

“Looking at this amount of money, it’s not that I didn’t appreciate what my son gives to us from his pay, but to be honest, when he gets his pay then it goes very fast with everything we have to do.

“Yes we all know when you hold $100 it feels like a $1 nowadays, the money comes in on Friday and is all spent on Friday.

“There’s nothing much we can do.

He understands that many families are buying on credit.

His is no different. 

In fact this is what helps them survive living off a credit account from a shop nearby.

“I think that’s the only way - many are turning to now, that’s why we need to support Samoans’ shops.”

 ‘God has blessed Samoa with food, but the pay for many is not enough to pay for daily necessities.

“What I’m trying to say is that our people struggle in life because of low wages, the cost of goods and services is sky high.”

He said this is the reality that many families are facing today, even more difficult is that school has started again.

What should be done?

“This is a call to the government, have mercy on us.

“This is not just for the Prime Minister, but to ministers and members of parliament or government ministries, set a time aside to visit us one day, and experience with us what many of us are going through in life.

Aumua urges MPs to come and visit the people that voted them to their seats in parliament and ask what kind of burdens they are facing daily.

“They’re too busy in building massive buildings  and forget the reality of life we are living in.

By Ilia L Likou 10 February 2017, 12:00AM

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