Working hard to make the little they have last

“I am the grandmother of the family and my husband passed away in 2013,” 60-year-old Malo Tauapa’a from the village of Poutasi, Falealili told Village Voice.

“I am currently living here with my daughter and her family but I will return to my family in Savaii. I may be old, but I still try to take care of my family.

“This house has eight children with five of them currently schooling. I try my best to work the plantation to get a bit of money to put the kids through school and to look after the family.”

So how is life out here in the Rural Village?

“It’s not that easy,” Malo explains.

“When we don’t have any money then my daughter keeps the children at home putting their schooling on hold.

“But that will change. I keep telling my children not to keep my grandchildren at home. Whatever we have even if it’s just sugar cane then give that to them for their lunch; as long as they have something to keep their education going.

“I’ll get money every now and then from my other children and I will use that to help out the family. I recently just got back from the town area and this house had no money at all.”

What do you advise your children to do to make their life a bit easier?

“I keep telling my children to take it easy with making kids and to first look for a nice house,” Malo says.

“I feel really sorry for the way the children have to live; this house is not sufficient for them especially with all the leaks and holes in the tarpaulin walls.

“I try and help out the best I can by making mats and tending the plantation. I sell my mats for about $25 because I feel sorry for my children’s family who are living here.

“No one in this house works.”

What is the main source of income for your house?

“Other than my mats, we make our money from our plantation,” Malo says.

“We once had a very good plantation which grew cucumbers, cabbages and other crops but that was ruined by the cyclone. We are trying to grow those vegetables again.”

How much does your house make in a week?

“Sometimes I would have $20 a week and I would spend it wisely to take care of my family,” Malo says.

“Other times I would have $100 and I would do the same. Money management is very important in these villages.”

With all the hardship your family has to endure, do you think there is any poverty in Samoa?

“There is no one in Samoa who suffers from poverty,” Malo says.

“People don’t have enough simply because they do not work. As my children were growing up my husband worked hard to provide for them.

“He went back and forth between the land and the sea to get food and to make money. You can even do what I am doing, I make handicrafts to sell and make a bit of money.

“Lazy people are poor.”

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?