You are only as old as you feel.
For 67-year-old Togiaso Taase of Alafua, age is only a number.
While most people his age are winding down and taking it easy, Togiaso is not.
He knows his family relies on him so he has to stay strong and keep working hard.
“Age doesn’t matter when you know your family depends on you for survival,” he said. “For me, as long as I can work, I will do my best to look after my family.”
Togiaso is a planter. He and his wife work on the plantation to provide for their children.
“My wife and I don’t work,” he said.
“We depend on the fruits of our own land. We also get the pension from the government and that helps us survive.”
But work for Togiaso is not just a matter of survival.
“I want to stay healthy too,” he said. “I exercise at the plantation and I use it to maintain my good health. It’s the best form of exercise.”
Over the years, the elderly father said he has witnessed a lot of changes.
“It seems that time has brought a lot of changes to our homes,” he said.
“The roles of the father and mother have taken a number of twists. Fathers traditionally were the bread winners for families but these things are changing. In many families, mothers are also breadwinners.
“In the past, this was a role for men. As the father, I know I am also responsible for my family’s wellbeing.”
Mothers, he said, play an equally important role but he believes fathers should take the lead.
“I know others may disagree, which is fine, I believe in the traditional home with a father caring for the material needs of the family while the mother stays at home. That’s the best model.”
As for complaints about the cost of living, Togiaso takes a different view.
“The way I see it we can’t do anything about it,” he said. “The cost of living is beyond our control. Our cries have fallen on deaf ears which is very sad.
“We all go through the same thing. It’s just that we people experience life differently as well as determining the way we do things and the way we view life.
“The only thing I can do for my family is to keep working.”
“With the hard times we live in today, it’s very important that we don’t give up.”