Heavy Cold Rain Hits Samoa, Farmers Struggle To Sell Crops

admin's picture

Sellers gripe about unfinished market at Fugalei

By Sophie Budvietas

APIA, Samoa (Samoa Observer, May 27, 2014) – The rain yesterday, which brought heavy flooding to parts of the Apia township, was both "cold" and "freezing."

So said Lotutasi Fuifui, of Fasito’otai, who was among many farmers who braved the weather conditions yesterday, to sell their crops at Fugalei.

The night before, farmers were in a mad scramble to salvage what they could as heavy flooding threatened to take all their crops and their lives.

"I’ve been here since last night (Monday) when the rain came pouring down and it was very cold and freezing," he said.

"Right now, we have nowhere else to go and no one to turn to because the market is nowhere near completed."

The market he is referring to is being built across the road.

It should have been completed many months ago and yet that remains far from reality.

The government has encountered countless difficulties in efforts to complete it.

Last week, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi said he has instructed the workers to take their time – even if it takes up to 10 years.

Asked about this yesterday, Mr. Fuifui said he was deeply disappointed about the Prime Minister’s attitude.

"To be honest how can the P.M say that?" he asked.

"How can he not show a little bit of love for us, the farmers, who sit out in the sun and the rain to sell our produce to look after our families?"

"As you can see, we have been standing ever since last night when it started to rain. If you saw it, the water was everywhere. We even let most of our produce be taken by the flooding because there was nothing we could do about it. All we cared about at the time was to find a place to keep us warm."

"That’s how bad it was last night."

Mr. Fuifui said the Tole’afoa market was also affected.

"Even though the water managed to get inside the market, but at least the people in there were under the shade and they were warm and not wet," he said.

"For the rest of us outside, it was difficult."

"We really need a market."

"It’s not healthy to be standing out here in the rain, not having a rest and getting bitten by mosquitoes everywhere. On top of that, the smell is really bad."

So why does he try to endure the conditions?

"It’s the thought of my six young children that keeps me going," he said. "If it was just me, I would rather be poor and starve than spending the whole night out in the rain and sun."

"I would rather have nothing than living this kind of life."

Mr. Fuifui said people are tired of being ridiculed by the Prime Minister.

"I always wondered if he would say the same thing if it was his relatives who were in our shoes? Would he still be telling the people to take their time with the market?"

Mr. Fuifui wasn't the only one.

Suitupe Faleauto was equally frustrated.

"To be honest, I just thank God that the flooding last night only took our produce and not anyone," he said.

"We didn’t know where to go because the Coin Save gate was closed and Farmer Joe doesn’t allow people to be standing there when they are closed which is understandable."

"I felt for all of the others, running around looking for a place to go to get warm. It was heart breaking especially seeing so many elderly people, it was just sad."

"Yet the Prime Minister, I’m sure, was at home, nice and warm."

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment