Nature steady as economy plunges: fish seller
One way to tackle the high cost of living and financial challenges brought on by economic downturn is by taking to the sea, a 52-year-old mother from Satupa'itea in Savai'i advises.
Sivate Sa'atao and her husband own a small fishing boat. Her husband and son catch fish, while she sells them at the market.
"We depend heavily on the sea to provide for our family," she told Samoa Observer.
"It has been five years since we started this.
"It's quick money and we earn a lot from fishing."
But Mrs. Sa'atao admits that subsistence fishing is hard.
"This is because the weather can be unpredictable and during bad weather, my husband and son cannot go fishing," she said.
"We have good days and bad days just like any other business out there. When the weather is perfect, we catch a lot and we earn a lot.
"If the weather is not so good, then we cannot do much about it.
"Sometimes, the weather is not the problem, as sometimes the sale is not good.
"Especially in situations such as the lock-down we had where markets were closed and no public gatherings were allowed.
"We struggled so much business-wise."
On a good day, said Mrs. Sa'atao, they earn about $800-$1,000 tala from selling their fish in one day.
"But recently, we have been earning just about $400, but that money goes into buying petrol for our fishing boat, the car that we use to deliver our fish around and to the market, and also to pay for the freezer and bags of ice we use to store our fish.
"After everything, the only amount we get is $30 or less."
Nonetheless, Mrs. Sa'atao said Samoans were fortunate to have access to natural resources and should make greater use of them, especially during times of downturn.
"We also have a big plantation that provides food for us, and sometimes we sell it to earn some extra cash," she said.
"I am very grateful to God for blessing us with so much and for always providing for us.
"Our land and sea are our gifts from God and we should use it wisely."
The hardworking mother lives by the saying that you can not get anywhere in life if you do not work.
"Being a farmer and fisherman is not something many youths aspire to become when they grow up," she says.
"This is because they think it's hard. Yes, it's hard being a farmer or a fisherman, but so as anything else in this life.
"You can not achieve something or get anything from just sitting at home. Money does not come to you, you get up and work for it.
"We should be thankful that we have lands and seas where we can go get food from and can sell them for money.
"As I said, that is our gift from God and we should appreciate it.
"Nothing comes easily in life; get up and work."