How much more can they endure

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

This much is undeniable. To say life is tough is an understatement. 

For many of us, life is more than tough; it is atrocious for many people. 

Reading the Village Voice every day opens our eyes to the reality on the ground in Samoa today. While our people come across as strong and resilient, you can see through their eyes they are hurting. They are in pain. 

And we can understand why.

Look at the state of farmers, mothers and their poor children and what they have to go through every day just to make a tala or two. Their stories are those of perennial struggles on a daily basis. Rain or shine, they are toiling hard.

They might be poor but for many of them, it’s not because of the lack of trying. They are trying alright! 

Think about the basic cost of living and basic services. Think about how taxes are hurting everybody, especially when they are being taxed to the bone every day. 

Isn’t it downright cruel then that when we are taxed everywhere we turn in this country today, and yet we find that the cost of living, the cost of basic services and the cost of basic utilities continuing to show no mercy on the downright depleted soul? Have you ever sat down to calculate the cost of your electricity lately?

Now stop for a moment and look at the growing number of Samoans – of all ages - who are being enslaved to run all over town to sell pins, cans of soda, twisties and air fresheners among other stuff.

Indeed, whether we agree or disagree about the existence of poverty in Samoa, this truth stares at us point blank in the face everyday.

Even when school has started, more and more young people are hawking goods on the streets of Apia and all over Samoa.

They have been denied the opportunity to be educated simply to make ends meet for their families who live in hardship, poverty and want. This is not normal. It cannot be accepted as the norm.

We say this because deep down inside, we are a community that cares. We are a family-oriented people who carry a strong sense of communal responsibility encouraged by our culture and Christianity values.

Which is why we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to the number of young boys and girls who are being turned into street kids on a daily basis.

Using young children, who should be in school, to attract the sympathy of passers by, who are then forced to buy something from them or give them money, should be discouraged by everyone.

For years now, this newspaper has been highlighting some pretty heart-breaking stories about these young people. This is absolutely heart breaking. 

This is not normal. And it is not okay.

Ladies and gentlemen, somebody – or some people - are responsible for this suffering.

And the government should take a large chunk of the blame because of their lack of care and absent-mindedness about doing what is right to help people.

What we find especially shameful is the attitude of apathy that’s being shown towards these problems.

As ordinary members of the public struggle to get by on a daily basis – including businesses and the thousands of employees depending on them – the government just doesn’t seem to accept that somewhere along the line, its behaviour, or misbehaviour if you prefer, has played a big part in this struggle.

How much more can people endure? And for how much longer?

Something to think about today folks!

Have an awesome Thursday Samoa, God bless!

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