Nothing in life is free. That much we know.
Whatever it is, we pay through sweat, money, time and so on.
That’s how Iakopo Autagavaia, from the village of Afega, views life.
Aged 55, Iakopo is a living testament of hard work. The hardworking father walks around the town area with his basket of cooked taro which he sells to earn a bit of money for his family.
He was also able to buy a house through sales of taro.
“I have been walking around selling these cooked taro for about 20 years now,” Iakopo told the Village Voice.
“The reason why I do this is so I can earn a bit of money for my family to use. The times are changing and we need to work hard to get what we need in life.
“What I earn doesn’t matter. Being an honest worker is what counts the most right now. I keep telling myself that if I keep this up then I will be able to afford the necessities in life.”
He admits that working this way isn’t an easy way to live but providing for his family is all the motivation he needs to get up every day to work.
“I have already started reaping my reward for years of honest work,” Iakopo said.
“I was able to build my house with the money I earned from selling these cooked taro. I was able to put my children through school and I was also able to provide for my family’s daily needs.
“It’s not easy but having my children and family as my motivation helps a lot.”
His plantation may not be big but Iakopo makes whatever he gets work.
“My plantation isn’t very big,” he said.
“I have a few sons who help tend the plantation I have inland. It may not be that big but it still helps my family quite a bit.
“I make my way from my village to walk around selling this every day to help the family. We prepare everything at home before I wrap it up and make my way to town.”
Iakopo concluded that he believes poverty exists in Samoa but it’s up to the people to get themselves out of the pit.
“To be honest I do believe that there are some people, who live in poverty,” he said.
“That’s the truth here in Samoa and there’s no point in denying it. But I do believe that we won’t get anywhere in life if we do not work hard for it.
“If you work then you get things. You will get money for your family, you will be able to build a house like me; the possibilities are only limited by how hard you work.
“The Lord has given us all the strength to be able to work and make a good life for ourselves. We are only poor due to our weak will to work.”