It’s a lot harder than it looks
Some people envy the simplicity of village living.
But the story is different when you actually become part of that lifestyle.
For Valusoia Maea, who migrated from the village of Saleaula, Savaii to Vaitele-Fou, village life is very complex.
Aged 71, he explains that there are many problems in the village; especially with village to village migration.
“The problem with the village life nowadays is that there are too many people migrating between villages,” Valusoia told the Village Voice.
“Too many people coming from this village and that village and they bring with them the mindset of their old villages. This creates a lot of problems.
“Coming in from Savaii and living here, I come with the mindset of order in villages. I am from a village which takes respect and village ethics very seriously. I believe in peaceful living.
“But other village people who also migrate here have different mindsets. Some cause fights, others come and get drunk on the roads and cause trouble. It’s not easy especially with everyone trying to make their way to urban villages.”
Valusoia also explained that another problem he faces is that the size of land available in some villages is too small to make a living.
“Another problem is that when rural villages try and move to urban areas we are given very small pieces of land,” he said.
“The land we get is not enough to work in. Everyone wants to take care of their family’s but having small pieces of land doesn’t make it easy.
“We only have enough land grow a few taro, some coconut trees and that’s not enough to feed the family.”
Even with two of his children currently employed, Valusoia and his family still struggles to make ends meet.
“I have two children currently working to help me take care of the family,” he said.
“Even with that help there’s not enough because life is expensive. We have the grandchildren to put through school and other expenses here and there.
“We barely have enough for daily meals let alone having nice food to treat the family every now and then.
“I sell green coconuts on the side of the road to make a little extra money to help out the family and my grandchildren’s schooling expenses.”
And with the high cost of living Samoa currently faces, the struggles become more and more difficult.
“Not having much money is bad, but with the expensiveness of the goods these days, it’s just very hard,” Valusoia said.
“Looking for ways to take care of the family is a hard task and then on top of that there is the children’s education and their other needs.
“For us struggling families, it’s very difficult. I thank the Lord that our country knows no hunger because we have a lot of food around the island.
“But there is a good level of struggle in Samoa.”