Life may be difficult, but hard work makes a difference.
This is the belief of Levaa Ta’ita’i Iopu, an unemployed 67-year-old father of seven from the village of Vaivase.
Despite his age, he still works the land and looks for ways to use all the resources that surround him.
The Village Voice team found him at one of their lands clearing the grass and looking for ways to fix his son’s rundown shack.
He told the team that he needs assistance.
“We have our other house all the way at the back, where my wife is at, but this is our land. I am here to clean up because my sister used to live here, but she has moved elsewhere.
“We would be throwing this land away if we do not make good use of it.
“This is a way of helping my family develop and expand. It all starts from making good use of the things that are around us.
“I understand the cost of living and its contribution to our society, but we have to live within our own means and try to adjust. Use all the resources that are around us for our own good,” he said.
There is a big problem with the house that he is trying to rebuild. Not only is there no stable source of electricity, the water supply has been disconnected and it is not safe for anyone to live in.
“We need help with the house, if you will walk in, then you will understand what I am talking about.
“All the wood that have been used to build this house back from the start are now slowly rotting. I reckon the only things in that house that are still good are the posts holding it up straight.
“There is an electricity pole here but I do not know if the power works or not. The tap water has also been disconnected, so there are many things that need to be done here.
“This house is not safe for anybody to live in, the roof leaks. As you can see, the iron roofing is all rusty and the only solution is to replace it.”
Some of his children are employed, but they also have their own family to look after.
“Most of them are working, which is a good thing. That way I could take a break from work and they could do the rest.
“We have been here for a very long time and regardless of me being unemployed, I still work the land. It is a good exercise for me.”