Filemu Ta’uneia and her family’s everyday life is a struggle.
Drinking water from a rusted barrel, living off taro and bananas, sleeping on a wooden floor with candles at night, are part of their everyday life.
The 32-year-old mother from Falemauga was preparing her Sunday umu when the Village Voice team visited her residence yesterday.
Mrs. Ta’uneia and her husband have a seven-year-old son and they live in a small broken house, covered with tarp and iron roofing.
“This is our humble home, it is not much, but what can you do when you’re poor.”
“As you can see our house is almost falling apart, but so long as we have a roof over our heads, we can’t really complain.”
“The roof is leaking due to the hole, but we put a plastic barrel to collect the water.”
“This is where we eat and also where we sleep,” she told the Village Voice team.
The mother said they have requested for a water tank for more than three years now.
“I don’t know what the criterias are for families to get water tanks, but our family has yet to get one.”
“So we use these two metal barrels to store rainwater, it’s rusty, but I don’t know where we can get some barrels.”
“If it doesn’t rain then we get water from our pastor’s house next door, they have been very kind to us.”
Asked if they have electricity, Mrs. Ta’uneia said they use candles for evening meals.
“We have been living here for more than three years without electricity, but then we can’t even afford the connection fee for electricity,” she said.
“Rain for us is like winning the lotto,” she said laughing.
“Our family needs a water tank as you see the condition of the two barrels we have, it’s rusty but again, we use what we have.”
Mrs. Ta’uneia dreams of having a house with doors and windows.
“One can only wish to have a proper house to raise a family, one with doors and actual windows.”
The current shack Mrs. Ta’uneia and her family live in has the kitchen on the right and it is close to where the family eats and sleeps.
The floor is not cemented but has rocks, and the roof is partially covered with tarp and the body of the house is covered with iron roofing.
“My shack is relatively small and we eat where we sleep, maybe when my son grows up, he can build me a house.”
“My husband and I work on the farm, we sell our produce at the market and the money goes to chemicals to help with the farm,” she said.
“I am not ashamed to say that our family does not have a toilet, we take care of business in the bush and it’s been like this for more than three years. I wish there was something we could do to at least have a toilet, but again there is no money,” she said.
If you want to help this family, you can reach them on 720-7321.