At 17 years old, Taira Lam Sam, of Leulumoega, is a young man with lots of responsibilities on his shoulder.
None more important than the job of looking after his parents.
“Currently, I’m the only child living in Samoa with my parents,” he said.
“I have four siblings -- three brothers and one sister. They all live overseas.”
“So for that reason, I am now responsible for taking care of my parents.”
When the Village Voice caught up with the young boy, he was working at the plantation.
He said that growing up in a family who work really hard has had a huge impact on him.
His role model is his father.
“Being the only child in Samoa has given me the courage to work hard and not waste anymore time because life is just hard,” he said.
“I remember my dad, back in the days, when he taught us how to grow crops on the land to ensure we always have money and food.
“Now that he is getting old, it is now my responsibility to continue what he had taught us.”
Taira is a student at Paul XI College in Leulumoega.
“I go to school everyday, but on weekends, I use up my free time to work on our plantation,” he said.
“My dad used to be a carpenter, now that he’s getting old, he’s retired from his job and he stays home with Mum.”
Taira told the Village Voice their family is reasonably okay when it comes to money issues.
“My parents are living a comfortable life because my siblings overseas are helping us out through remittances,” he said.
“They are playing their part from overseas by sending money home and I am playing my part by looking after my parents here.”
Lastly, he has a word of advice for his fellow young peers.
“Please use your time wisely,” he said. “Do not let your young age be an excuse for being lazy. This is your time, love your parents and do something useful that will make them proud.”