Even in town, we struggle
Many rural villagers migrate to urban areas hoping for greener pastures.
It works sometimes.
But not all the time.
In some cases, they are met with more hardship.
For Kitiona Tavu’i, from the villages of Falelauniu and Falealupo, moving from Savai’i to Upolu has done little to help hius lot. Aged 36, he is often seen at the Fugalei market working seven days a week to provide for family.
“I am living with my parents and siblings,” he tells the Village Voice.
“It’s not easy selling crops here in the market, sometimes we would have to sit here for seven days a week in order to sell as much as we can. We need money for pretty much everything.
“There is no one employed in our family so this block provides almost everything for my family.”
Even though he works every day of the week, the little he makes is still not enough to help his family.
“We make a little over $100 dollars on a good week,” Kitiona said.
“But on bad weeks I will only make about $50 and it’s just not enough to take care of the family. There is just too much expenses for a measly $100.
“Right now my house has no water. We pray for rain to fill up our water tanks and buckets. We are trying to save what little we have to one day get the water pipes to our house.”
Although he didn’t get much out of migrating to the urban areas, Kitiona said that it is still better than the struggles he had back in the village.
“The difference from life in town and village life is that you won’t make much money in the village,” he said.
“You can live off of the land but you will eventually need money. You can always do small market stalls on the side of the road but your customers are those who also have plantations. Sales aren’t too good out there.
“Ever since I came to town we are able to make a little bit of money from these market stalls to pay for little things like sugar, salt and so on.”
And the increasing cost of living is not helpful for Kitiona’s struggling situation.
“Life is becoming a bit too expensive,” he said.
“The $100 I make is stretched thin to try and cater for as much as possible. Costs of living is just painfully high right now.
“Another thing I have noticed is that the government tends to help those who are well off and neglect those who are struggling. We need help too; we are forced to beg the school nearby to fill our buckets with water during dry months.”