No hardship but we don’t have money
Life in Savai’i can never be compared to life in Upolu.
Tupa’i Malu of Lano says it’s easier and simpler to survive on the big island, as opposed to the demands of Upolu.
“There’s no hardship here, no struggle but I think the only problem here is money,” Tupai told the Village Voice.
“But if we don’t work, we are not able to have money. We can’t just keep depending on our children overseas to support us financially, we should also work to earn our own living.”
Tupa’i said income-generating opportunities are very limited.
“We have a lot of land to work on, start a plantation and a vegetable farm and that’s a lot. Those are the things we know we can sell and get money from.
“Besides, if we believe in God, we can do anything.”
Tupa’i also believes in the saying that where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“Savaii is lucky to have big customary lands to work on, and if you believe in yourself anything you do will always work.”
“But if we compare the lands that some of our families in Upolu are living on, they are struggling.”
Tupa’i said the life in Upolu is almost like living in New Zealand or Australia.
“Everything is paid for, the water bills, the electricity, the food and everything.
“I’m saying this because I’ve been there too, I used to live in Upolu and that was the struggle we faced every day.”
Tupa’i believed that we have to work hard to earn our living but not just rely on hand outs.
Asked about the government’s developments for Savai’i?
“We hear so many promises but I don’t know if any of those promises have been done.”
“There is a need to establish a University in Savai’i to cater for our children here, because this is why many families migrate to Upolu.
“It’s very difficult to send children away and live with other members of your family especially when they are not used to it.”
Tupa’i said that is another problem because many children sent by their families to attend school in Upolu return without finishing college.
Sometimes it’s either their parents can’t afford the expenses spent on them or they are not happy with the environment they are living in.
“These are the kind of development that the government should prioritise.”
Tupa’i also elaborated on the village and church contributions.
He said it is up to the person what to do and what not to do.
In every village the council has to decide what’s best for the development of the village.
“Our village have curfews in the evening and that is to encourage every family of the village to do their prayers, have their family talk and also for the parents to share to their children.”
The whole idea is to encourage the youth that this is how we live our lives as Samoans.
Tupa’i recalled his youthful years living with his parents.
How his parents disciplined him and his siblings at their young age.
“We were taught how to respect and work hard to look after our family.”