Villagers learn the art of shell crafting
A three-day training programme for making handicrafts from trochus [aliao] shells concluded on Thursday with the goal of teaching Saoluafata village locals the art of making handicrafts to generate new income.
The handicraft training programme was conducted in Apia by officers of the Fisheries Division within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries [M.A.F.] to teach villagers on using machines to polish the inner pearly nacre of the shell and shape it artistically.
According to Sine Seuma'alo Fa'afetai, a representative of the Saoluafata Committee, the training programme by the M.A.F. has been very useful and will help develop future family income.
She said that on the first day they were clueless but the Fisheries Division office staff taught them how to use the machine and they soon began taking turns.
"It was only three days and we’re finishing it today but we have learned so much," she said.
"We’ve learned how to use the machine, cut the shells, how to make earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
"The office here has taught us so much in the past few days."
Sine emphasised that concentration is very important during the process for safety reasons because the machines are quite sharp.
She also said that she pitched an idea to one of their members that it would be nice to have a flea market back in the village as they have been told that they can still come back to the Fisheries office to use the machines to create more handicrafts.
They requested a machine for the village from the M.A.F. so they could create their own handicrafts but were told that the Ministry is still waiting on their suppliers.
"We hope to have our very own machine so we can teach the other ladies back at Saoluafata," Sine added.
According to a statement from the Fisheries Division in March, the trochus fishery seemed successful yet there was a lack of knowledge and capacity to utilise both the meat and shell for generating new income streams for locals.