Honesty is the best policy
As a parent, providing for your children is always priority number one.
That much can be said for Anitelea Enele from the village of Toamua-Uta.
Aged 40, Anitelea’s worst nightmare is not having enough for his children.
“I do this for my family and children,” he told the Village Voice team as he described his work as a lawn mowing labour worker.
Even though he strongly believes in honest work, there are many problems for Anitelea.
“The problems are usual ones,” he said.
“Any business in this country has its own problems. People of my own village cause problems for me too.
“They would say ‘ok ill pay you another day’ and ill give them a paper because with my business, I provide an invoice saying that the labour work is $30.
“I even use my business to help the old people of the village, those who are in real need of help.”
The only policy Anitelea goes by is honesty.
“On an average, my work would get me $300-$400 a week,” he said.
“Some weeks I would do my work badly and I know that if I work longer on my job then it will be good for a long period of time, but if I do it badly and let it grow fast so I can come back, then the Lord will judge me.
“That’s how I take care of my family. If I don’t have money then I will plant some yams so my children and wife will have some food.”
According to Anitelea, he has been in the lawn mowing business for a long time.
“I have worked this job for a long time,” he said.
“I had worked at Gold Star for four years and six months. My talent wasn’t taught to me anywhere. It’s a talent that I got from my Aunty who married a Chinese named Ah Wong.
“He was the first Chinese man to do a lawn mowing business in Samoa. At that time I was schooling at Pesega and he would take care of Apia Park and all the school compounds.
“As I was staying and learning I gained the experience I needed for this kind of work and as I grew up I started my lawn mowing business in Hawaii.
“And then my downfall came from my own family because as I went on my family eats a lot. I then I worked at Apia Park and did part time at Gold Star.”
But no matter how hard Anitelea works, there will always be issues he must face.
“The issues I have is trying to always provide my children with food,” he said.
“We Samoans, we have times when we have enough money and times that we don’t. If I work honestly then the family will see that my work is worth it and ill get another chance to get money from them next time around.
“The problem when I don’t have money sometimes is when I we see our child just a banana then you will feel angry and wish that it was a piece of chicken. Or other times when you make tin fish and your children don’t eat.
“For me I get angry if I can’t spoil my children for at least one day.”
But Anitelea does have a dream, and that is to keep doing what he loves most.
“My only wish is that I can continue to do my lawn mowing business,” he said.
“The main reason is because I grew up with it, it was my first form of work before I made my family. I left my business when I had my children and then I searched for a wife and that’s where everything got stuck.”
According to Anitelea, as he works honestly, the leaders of this country are doing otherwise.
“The government is good sometimes,” he said.
“If look at one side then they’re doing well but if you look at the other side then you’ll see that’s they’re not. I will speak from Christian point of view; they are focusing more on the rich rather than the people.
“They try and bring money to benefit Samoa but our people aren’t at the level where it should be. It’s not like everyone eats chicken in this country.
“Those in the government just sit down, eat, and wash their hand and sleep. But the rest of the people, if we don’t sweat then we won’t get anything. They look only to themselves and ignore the rest of us.”