Struggling in paradise
Uale Nielsen, from the village of Leulumoega, believes life in Samoa would be a whole lot better if the rising prices of food items matched the earnings of every day living.
Employed as a handyman, he tells the Village Voice team that while prices increase to unbearable peaks, people are left to fend for themselves with little earnings.
Mr. Nielsen says trying to manage little money is a real hassle every day and there are many who find it too hard to deal with the increasing cost.
“The real issue in my own opinion is that the standard of living in Samoa is getting very expensive while the level of pay people are getting remains the same,” he said.
“It’s a sad reality because we see the cost of food items going up every time and it’s becoming harder for the average person to deal with.
“I know so many people who are experiencing this along with me. We get our money from work and it’s just a little over $100 tala, and then spreading it out to cover all our daily activities and meals becomes a real challenge.”
The hard working man explains that he manages a small plantation on the side to make a little extra money. He says that this is the best way to beat the high cost of living.
“I also go out to sea to try and catch whatever I can to sell. That’s the only way Samoans can really get by these days. The money from work alone isn’t enough.
“I understand that there is always a way around the struggles we all face but sometimes, it’s just too difficult for us to cope.”
Mr. Nielsen says even the cost of small everyday items was increasing and he dreads the days he can’t afford such items.
“Basic items such as sugar for tea is becoming a huge burden to have because it is rising in prices and there are times affordability becomes an issue,” he said.
“That’s why my only advice is to have a back-up plan. Even if you have a job, it’s always safe to grow some extra vegetables or have a plantation to fall back on when times get tough.”
Mr. Nielsen adds when faced with a lot of fa’alavelave, Samoans turn to families overseas because they have no other options sometimes.
“This is because taking care of such commitments is impossible with the level of money people earn here in Samoa.
“I understand that family member’s overseas struggle too sometimes and I am grateful for their help when they are needed.”