“Be grateful for what you have and you will always have enough,”- That is the opinion of Utaulu Vi’iga Fa’atoia from the village of Saleapaga.
The 56-year-old believes that true happiness is found when you appreciate life, the things you have and the people you love.
He told Village Voice yesterday life in the village is “very simple.”
He uttered that “different people want different things in life. We also depend on different things to make us happy.”
But for the 56-year-old the simplicity of a village life and being around his loved ones is what makes him smile every day.
“Life is simple and easy here in the villages,” he says.
“It’s peaceful and happy. And we are so blessed to be living here on these lands.”
“We’ve been here for a month now. Our house is up where our village relocated after the tsunami. But we are here to start making good use of the lands we used to stay on before the tsunami. We grew up here and we want to start working on these lands again.” The land he was talking about was where the coastal part of the village of Saleapaga where they used to live before the tsunami in 2009. “We don’t want to abandon it and leave it behind,” he says.
“There are hardly any people living here on these lands and the villages here. But we want to come back here and make good use of these lands which belongs to us.”
“The area where we relocated to is now very well-developed. We have nice houses back there, churches and schools which is great, but we don’t want to abandon our lands here and that’s why we are starting to work on our lands again.”
He went on to say that there are no challenges in the villages.
“There are no challenges back here in the village. You only need to work to be able to provide for your own family. But there are no challenges faced by our village and district. “
“Our village is one of the most beautiful villages in Samoa and have been to competitions in terms of beautifying villages back in the days and our Women’s Committee are trying and encouraging our women to work on beautifying our villages again.”
“You see, back in the days before the tsunami, this part of the village was covered with white sand. But that changed after the tsunami.” Utaulu told the Samoa Observer that agriculture, fisheries and tourisms are the main source of income for their village.
“For our village, we have different kinds of inspection in our village,” he says.
“We have the village mayor’s inspection and also the different congregations in the village. This encourages every family in the village to grow whatever crops they can on their lands so that we can all benefit from it.
“This is a good way to encourage our children and to show them that great and sweet success comes when you work hard.
“Agriculture and fisheries is the main source of income for us here in the villages. Some families also have children and relatives overseas who are able to send them money to help out their families.
“Some also have people working in Apia and also here in the villages in the different resorts and beach fales we have here in the villages. Those are the developments we depend on to help our families.
“The only problem is some people are lazy.” Moreover, he strongly believes that there is no poverty in Samoa.
“We have a lot of uncultivated lands here in the villages where people can work on and earn money. “You will not get money just by sitting at home. You earn something if you work hard and think ahead. There is also a lot of hidden money at sea as well. People just need to get up and work.
“Back here in the village, even if you don’t have money, you can live off the land. Look around us; we have a beautiful green and blue environment. A lot of people from other countries come to Samoa and they keep saying that Samoa is very rich in terms of resources.”
He reiterated that poverty doesn’t exist in Samoa. “There is no poverty and starvation in Samoa,” he says.
“You will only suffer if you don’t work. The future of our families and villages is in your own hands. “We’ve seen a lot of people in town begging on the streets for money. Every time I see them, I never give them money because some of them look very strong and have a lot of muscles. They should be working on their plantations instead of sitting there waiting for people to give them money. They need to go back to their families and help them out.
“But life in the village is similar to the life in Apia. We have so many tourists here in our village and districts and I am glad that these resorts open up employment opportunities for our children as well.”