7 May 2022 Apia Samoa. Local oranges known as moli Samoa are in season as seen in abundance, being sold along the roadside and in marketplaces in urban Apia.
For one mother from Papa Sataua, a village in the northwestern end of Savaii Island, the timing of the orange season each year is perfectly placed around the Mother’s Day holiday.
Special Mother’s Day Greeting
At this time of year, Sulamai Aloese Leota focuses on making the most of the opportunity to earn an income for her family by selling oranges sent over from their plantation in Savaii.
Sulamai begins her story by thanking God, and says they would not be able to succeed in their small business venture without the help of God.
“We are really blessed by this fruit,” says Mrs Sulamai Leota, “especially when it’s a good season and the trees bear fruit in abundance like we’ve seen this year.”
“O le faatauina o le moli, o se faamanuiaga tele mai i Le Atua mo matou.”
Sulamai lives with her husband and six children, and at this time, she says their family’s main focus is taking care of her 79 year old mother, who lives with them.
Samoa Global News catches up with the 42 year old mom at Fugalei market on a Friday afternoon, where she and her husband, Mikaele Leota, are selling the third load of oranges brought over from Savaii this week. They are joined by Sulamai’s youngest brother, who is there to help out.
All over Apia, a bunch of oranges is going for $5 tala, but Sulamai says she gets her competitive advantage by being generous with her bunches.
“For the medium size, I bunch 6 oranges together.., and for these larger ones, you get four for $5 tala, and then for the ones that are slightly smaller, you get 9 oranges for $5 tala.
“Even though there are lots of stalls at this time, people still buy my oranges, Viia Le Alii, we still make good sales..”
Sulamai says an average days gross sales is $400 tala, before expenses. “Some days $300 and some days $500.. but that’s before our transport costs and other expenses,” she shares.
Special Mother’s Day Greeting
Sulamai says this is not a year-round business venture, so they have to save the money they earn now. “I deposit the money into our bank account for our family to use…”
She explains that they don’t have their own car, but they pay $500 tala to a man who ships their oranges from Savaii to Upolu. “That includes the cost of the ferry..”
“E totogi lava le taavale e alu e aumai le matou uka moli..”
Sulamai says the season will last for at least another month, and their family in Papa Sataua will continue to send them car loads of oranges to sell for as long as it will last.
Sulamai Leota ended with a short Happy Mother’s Day greeting, wishing all the mothers in Samoa a blessed weekend.
“And especially to my beloved mother who turns 80 years old next month.”
“Ia e avea lou tagata faatauvaa aemaise foi matou fanau e molimoli atu ai foi faamanuiaga ma alofaaga i si o matou tina e tusa ai foi ma le faamanatuina o le aso mo tina, ia faapea foi tina uma i si o tatou atunuu. Ia alofa Le Alii ia faafualoa soifua o tina uma, tina matutua, tina feololo ia ma nai tina foi faatoa tau amata, ia maua se Aso Sa o tina manuia i le agalelei o Le Atua.”