When a parent is forced to search high and low to try and secure a better future for their children, there is no greater gift for them than for the children to answer their struggles with good work.
That is how Eti Heather, a father of five from the village of Lepuia’i Manono, feels.
With nothing but pride and joy in his heart, Mr. Heather explains that his daughter was the top student in her form.
He explains that although his family struggles every now and then to get by, let alone support their children’s education, the best gift he could ask for is to know his children performed well in school.
“Oh right now, I am just over the moon,” he told the Village Voice team with a big smile yesterday.
“My daughter was Dux in Year 11 of her school and there is just no greater feeling than that. It was definitely not easy and my family struggled on the way, but the results of the children have given me a peace of mind in knowing that it was worth it.”
Asked how the year was for him and his family, Mr. Heather says that there was no shortage of struggles but now he feels that a heavy burden has been lifted.
“As I said before, life isn’t easy out here,” he explains.
“We don’t earn enough in the family to comfortably cover all our bills such as water bills, the children’s school fees, and for general everyday expenses such as food and so on.
“For me and many others in my village, the ocean is our main source of money and support for the family. Take me for example; majority of what’s needed for my children’s schooling comes from what I earn from the ocean.
“But when your children answer all your hard work and struggle with good results, you forget it all with pride and joy filling your heart. That’s how I felt when I found out my daughter was top in her year level.
“I also give a lot of the credit to God for his love and blessings over my family and children.”
And on the topic of the general living standard of Samoa, Mr. Heather grunted and said everything was just too expensive.
“I am sure many will agree that life is becoming a bit too expensive,” he said.
“It’s true that those who manage their money wisely will have it a little easier but there are those who will try and try to manage their money, yet will still struggle.
“We get our money and it’s gone in no time. We buy one thing from the shop and then a big chunk of our money gone. We take a bus from our village to town and our money is almost finished just from traveling.
“It would actually be great if people’s wages and the cost of living increase at the same time. That would definitely make life a little easier.
“But instead of that happening, we see everything in the shops getting more expensive and the wages and people earnings on a stand still.”
Mr. Heather explains that many people move from official employment to starting up a plantation because they would at least earn a better living if they worked hard for it.
In the case of official employment, Mr. Heather says that they are forced to make loans because the pay remains small while Samoa becomes expensive.
And in saying that, the proud father is just glad that Samoa has come to the end of another year and that nothing major has happened to the country.