Using whatever means to survive

Taeao Vaifale, from the village of Leauvaa, doesn’t complain much.

She knows everyone in Samoa goes through their fair share of struggles but she believes there is always a way to help each other.

Aged 44, Taeao runs a roadside stall where she sells produce from her plantation. She also sells pork buns at the nearby primary school. The hardworking mother finds any means necessary for her family’s survival.

“One problem I see in Samoa is the very high cost of living,” Taeao told the Village Voice.

“Everyone is trying to get through life so no matter how much my family struggles; I stick to my belief that we should always help one another.”

“An example would be when I am selling pork buns at the school for $1 and a kid comes up with just 80cents, I never turn them away because I know we are struggling. The high cost of living is affecting everyone in Samoa but we can always help one another.”

Taeao takes every day as it comes. Whenever she makes money, it goes straight to buying what’s needed for the family.

“This is how my family earns money,” she said as she held up her pumpkins.

“When I sell some pumpkins every day then I am able to buy some sugar, salt or some coffee for that day. Then the next day I sell some more pumpkins then I can buy some other things for food.”

“It’s a nice way to earn money on a daily basis. Not only is the money needed for food, it’s also needed for the children’s school expenses.”

Earning money from the plantation has been the family’s way of survival for a while now.

“We have been earning this way for a very long time but back then we did delivery,” Taeao said.

“I told my family that it’s better to have a roadside stall or our own to sell our own pumpkins because a lot of petrol goes to delivering to other stalls.”

“We are just about to about to harvest our peanuts so we can sell that here too.”

Asked how much they make a week, Taeao says about $200 a week. “We grow peanuts, pumpkins, cabbages and many other crops at our inland farm,” she said.

“From pumpkins alone we can make about $20 a day and that increases when the other crops are ready for harvest.”

“We can make a little over $200 from selling things here at our stall.” Even when it comes to the children’s schooling expenses, the plantation provides.

“We rely heavily on what we grow to earn money because we have no one currently employed at our house,” Taeao said.

“We provide everything from the plantation; even the children’s schooling expenses, the plantation provides for that too.”

“Every morning I make my way and sell some pork buns at the school before I go to the plantation. For me as a mother, I know the usefulness of my work.”

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