6 May 2022 Apia Samoa. A koko farmer selling his produce at the Fugalei market has called on a stop to violence against women as the country prepares for the Mother’s Day long weekend.
Alofaitama Kerisiano Enesi sells koko at the Fugalei market for a living. His wife passed away in 2015, leaving him to care for their 10 children.
Faanamuiaga o le Aso Sa o Tina, mai le Afioga i le Minisita, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Pose Salesa Schuster.
Samoa Global News caught up with Alofaitama on Friday afternoon while he was selling his koko. Asked if he had a message for Mother’s Day, the matai from Tuanai said his message was for fathers, to stop abuse against mothers.
“I want to take this opportunity to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers of Samoa..
“But for some mothers, even though they are walking around and seem to be happy, I feel that when they return to their homes, they will be abused, especially if fathers will be drinking alcohol..”
“Ia avea ia lenei avanoa faatauvaa e momoli atu ai faamanuiaga mo le Aso Sa o Tina, mo tina uma o si o tatou atunuu…
“Ae o nisi o tina, ia e moi lava o lea e feoai ma fiafia, ae e iai lava le agaga foi lea, a oo loa ina oo atu i latou i totonu o aiga, ua sauaina i latou, ae maise lava pe a tagofia foi e le toeaiina le ava… O lea e fautuaina atu ai foi tatou le itupa malosi, ia fai faalelei le Aso Sa o tinā ia filemū”.
Ia manuia ma ia tumau pea i Le Alii, o Le Atua lava e faamoemoe uma iai mea uma..”
Alofaitama is a second generation koko farmer. His own father was a koko farmer, and in a family of 7 children, he is the only one who has taken up koko farming and continues to work the family land at Tuanai.
“There is one of me, but I rely on God’s help, and I am able to continue my father’s koko farm, and earn a living for me and my children,” he tells SGN on a Friday afternoon at the Fugalei market.
“This is how my own father was able to earn a living and take care of us, and so this is how I have also tried to take care of my own children, in the same way I saw my own parents taking care of us.”
“E toatasi a’u, ae faamoemoe i Le Atua e fesoasoani mai.. O le olaga foi lea sa tausi mai ai i matou e nai ou tuaa i aso la, o lea la ou te taumafai foi ina ia tausi ai foi si a’u fanau i le auala lava lea e tasi sa ou ola mai ai, ao soifua nai ou matua.”
Today, the 65 year old continues to work on the koko farm. He says he earns $400 tala a week before expenses, from selling koko at the market six days a week. He sells bags of dried koko for $10 a bag. He also sells coconuts, pumpkin and bananas to help, but says dried koko is his main product.
“Ona o lea ua faai’ui’u foi ina uma le fuata koko, ia ae o popo ma fa’i ma maukeni, a vave maua uma mea ia e aumai faakasi lava ma koko.. ae a fiki le laki ma maguia le aso, ua uma uma koko ona faatau..”
“O la’u lava matafaioi lea e fai o le koko lava, aua le tausiina o si au fanau, ia o lea foi ua ou sau ou te faatau koko i le makeki..”
He has put all his children through school with earnings from his koko farm. He says seven of his children are now living overseas. They have good jobs and are able to support the development of their family from abroad.
“I have 5 boys and 5 girls.. 7 overseas now and 3 living here in Samoa..” says Alofa. One of his sons, he proudly tell us, works at the Development Bank. “O Sai’a e i le Faletupe o Samoa..”
Tuanai is known for having large koko plantations and many families from this village rely on this for their family’s development.
Today, Alofaitama lives in a comfortable home, and drives a Ford Ranger, which his children have sent him from overseas.
Alofaitama is a matai title from Tuanai. His own father held the title which he now also carries. He says he hopes that one day, one of his owns sons will take up the family’s koko farm.
He has not remarried since his wife passed away, “now going on to 7 years,” he says. “She was 62 years old when she died, and I have tried to honour her by looking after our children,” he says.
For this Mother’s Day long weekend, Alofaitama says he still misses his wife, and will spend the time with his children.
“O si ona pona ua leai se tina o lenei aiga..”
Alofaitama wishes all the mothers of Samoa a Happy Mother’s Day.