Fruit-picker back to his roots as mechanic

Life goes on for Loimata Fiu as he returns to his normal job in Savai’i fixing cars and working his plantations, after clocking two seasons as an apple picker in New Zealand.

The father of seven of Satagaloa in Salelologa Savai'i was among a large group of seasonal workers who flew back to Samoa last month and were quarantined for two weeks at Falealili.

In an interview with the Samoa Observer, Mr. Fiu admits that the fruit picking job in New Zealand paid good money, but he was happy to be back with his mother, his wife and seven children.

“The job [apple picker] is a great help to me in caring for my children, especially putting them through school, taking care of our family needs, within the village and supporting my church. I am Methodist,” he said.

“I feel happy to be back home to be reunited with my family, my dear mother, my wife and my seven children.”

Mr. Fiu made his first trip to New Zealand in 2017 under the auspices of the Poutasi Development Trust in Falealili, and returned last month to Samoa after his second trip to New Zealand. 

“When I went to New Zealand, I was picking apples. My job here [in Samoa] is I am a mechanic. I fix cars and I am back to work, fixing cars to make money in order to take care of my family,” he added in an interview.

“I have seven children and they are all in school. I also have a good-sized plantation of taro, taamu, bananas and koko so that is what I am doing in between the next trip to New Zealand.”

And business is booming at this juncture for the former seasonal worker, as he revealed that besides working on vehicles in Savai’i he also has a backlog of jobs in Poutasi.

“I am quite busy at the moment. When the week is over, I will go to Poutasi because I have some jobs, fixing cars, there waiting for me,” Mr Fiu added.

“I fix all kinds of cars. I fix machines, the big 10-wheeler trucks, cars, small cars, taxis, pick-up trucks, all kinds of trucks. I am fixing all kinds of cars right now.”

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