Ioane and Teu Paulo have farmed their family's land since 1962. From humble beginnings in the village of Malie the Paulo family have now planted and cultivated over 1000 cacao plants. They also have a variety of banana, taro, pineapple and some of the most beautiful flowers found in Samoa.
Ioane feels blessed that his trees fruit twice a year, but he also understands that the weather can play a huge role in affecting his fruiting seasons. They are resilient plants but the wind can soothes the plan and so even in the storm Ioane will head out and prune the plants as he knows the sun will shine soon after the and if he tends to them prior to the storm they will get maximum sunshine benefit.
Teu and her daughter roast the dried beans over an open fire. Their koko afi dance is of grace and experience. Using a wooden knife Teu moves the beans from side to side to ensure they do not over heat, this wave like lapping allows the skin (pa'u) of the bean to break away. Her daughter's instrument is a lemongrass straw. She gently blows away the pa'u as they both hand pick the roasted beans off the roasting tray.
Ioane takes the roasted cacao beans and pounds them into a thick liquor. A labour intensive activity that exudes experience and muscle power!
The Paulo's relationship with koko (cacao) runs as deep as the thousand cacao tree roots system that scatter his land. Selling koko samoa at the local markets and shops have helped put their 9 children through school and support the needs of their family.
Ioane and Teu give gratitude to our lord saviour and his gift of cacao.