A father’s wish for his children
Eteai Salima, from the village of Safune, Savai’i, has a dream.
He doesn’t want his children to continue the life of struggle he has had to endure.
Aged 47, Eteai pours all he has into his plantation so that he can make a few dollars to provide for his children and to put them through school.
He pushes his children to do their best in school and tells them to work towards a better life than the one he has.
“I work really hard in my plantation so that I can put my children through school,” Eteai told the Village Voice.
“I have five children and they are everything to me. Whatever I grow is sold at our roadside stall and the money I earn goes towards taking care of my children’s needs.”
“To tell you the truth, it’s not easy, but it’s necessary.”
Eteai says that through his struggles, he wants to be an example for his children so they won’t walk in his footsteps.
“My main motivation to work a little harder for my children is so that they do not walk in my footsteps,” he said.
“I always tell my children that when they grow up and have their own families, do not do the work that I am doing. We struggle and I work very hard so that their schooling will give them a good future.”
“I want them to notice how hard it is for their parents and I don’t ever want to see them struggle like we do. That’s all I wish for; I want them to live happily.”
According to Eteai, the high cost of living doesn’t make his plans for his children any easier.
“One of the things that make life a little harder is the high cost of living,” he said.
“I don’t earn much from my crops so I can’t afford a lot of things. My basket of pawpaws over there is sold at whatever price the buyer wants because everyone else sells pawpaws too.”
“I need to beat the competition and get whatever money I can get for my children. On very good days I would make about $50 and that goes straight to providing for my family.”
When they’re not in school, his children make an effort to help where they’re needed.
“My children help me in the weekends and when they don’t have school,” Eteai said.
“They sit at the roadside stall waiting for customers while I work in the plantation over here. This plantation is what the family relies on.”
“The Prime Minister always says that there is a lot of money in the dirt so I am still trying to find out if he is right or wrong.”
Eteai’s current goal is to enter into the chocolate business where he provides koko for production.
“My plan is to move to growing a lot of koko,” he said.
“I heard that companies are starting to make chocolates out of koko so it is now high in demand. I have already started on it so we will see how that goes.”
“My dream is to be a part of that chocolate industry so I can earn a little more for my children.”