Not easy making ends meet

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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WORKING HARD TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY: Talaleu Sootaga, 50, from the village of Faleasiu

WORKING HARD TO PROVIDE FOR MY FAMILY: Talaleu Sootaga, 50, from the village of Faleasiu

Budgeting is critical. Whether you make a million tala or 50 tala a week, it doesn’t matter. Everyone needs to budget.

The struggle Samoans go through to make ends meet is nothing new but Talaleu Sootaga says it is all about planning, making the money stretch to cover the family needs.

Aged 50, from the village of Faleasiu, Talaleu works at the village roadside barbeque stall and even though the pay is decent, life is still a little bit of a struggle.

“We get paid at the end of the week and that is what I use to take care of the family,” she told the Village Voice.

“We make our pay stretch to cover everything. We have to take care of the church and village obligations; family activities like faalavelave and then the family’s every day needs.”

One of the reasons for the struggles is the high cost of living in Samoa.

“I can’t stress enough how expensive life is nowadays,” Talaleu said.

“We get our pay but things are very expensive so many times we can’t afford what we need. I would go to do my shopping with $100 and it’s the same as $1.”

“Not long after I start shopping and it’s already finished on only a few items.”

Talaleu does believe that to some extent, there is poverty in Samoa.

“The thing is, I admit that my family is really struggling,” she said.

“I believe that there is poverty in Samoa. My family doesn’t have much and that’s why we are finding any means necessary to make money.”

“Our pay from here does help the family but it’s not enough. We have children to put through school and other things we need our money for but we can’t afford anything most of the time.”

“That’s why I try to work as hardest as I can to make ends meet with my family. Hard work is all that matters in this life.”

On the other hand, Talaleu says that the barbeque she works at is doing very well.

“Right now there are about 200-300 people buying every day,” she said.

“We start from early morning till very late at night from Monday till Saturday. As soon as we open up our stall then we start seeing cars come in one by one to buy some food.”

“It’s the same right up until night time.”

For just $10 a serve, Talaleu assures everyone that you will get the value for your money.

“The family who owns the BBQ stall isn’t here right now and I am just a worker,” she said.

“We make sure that the food is cooked properly and served to everyone. This stall has been going strong for about six months now. “At $10 a serve we give one piece of lamb, one piece of turkey, chicken and sausages which comes with potato salad and cucumber slices.”

“It sells really well.”

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