Paying bills and school fees with mangoes

The mango season is a blessing for many people in Samoa. There is no doubt about that.

Not only does it indicate the nearing Christmas season, but it means cash for most families.

For Valene Tafaialii, from the village of Faleula, the mango season provides her family with another source of income.

Aged 30, Valene sits on the roadside trying to sell mangoes because she wants to take some pressure off of her hard working husband.

She says that her road is full of mango sellers and everyone has their own reasons for selling.

“Many people may be doing the same thing, but everyone is different,” Valene told the Village Voice.

“Along this road there are many mango sellers and they will show up soon. The reason I sell mangoes in front here is to try and provide some money to take care of my family.

“I have children I want to put through school and these mangoes are what I have to do so. I sell bunches of three mangoes for only $2.”

She says that even though there’s a lot of competition, she still manages to make a decent amount of money.

“When I bring two buckets of mangoes here then I can make about $90 from that,” Valene said.

“It sells out quite fast. There is always a small window of opportunity every year to sell mangoes so we can only make money for about a month before the season is over.

“I admit that we do make a lot of money but we Samoans have that mentality where we want to spend money as soon as it’s in our hands.

“I try to save as much as possible to pay off bills for electricity, water and so on. Out of the $90 a day I make, I save about $70 in case of emergency.”

Valene says that the mango season makes many people happy, and she takes pride in being able to make more money than her husband through mango sales.

“A lot of us villagers are very happy when it’s mango season because it’s good money,” she said.

“My husband is the only one in the family working so when it’s mango season, it brings me joy to be able to help him out with the money I make.

“I can make more money from mango sales than my husband makes from his job. The only downside is that it’s a seasonal fruit.

“My husband makes $200 a week and when its mango season, then I am able to make well over $300 a week. The best days for sale are Friday and Saturday.

“A few Tokelauans sometimes place orders for buckets of mangoes and I sell it for about $50 to them.”

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