A struggling father’s realities

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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STABLE SHELTER NEEDED: Ielua’s home in need of assistance.

STABLE SHELTER NEEDED: Ielua’s home in need of assistance. (Photo: Iain McGregor)

Imagine living in a rundown shack. It’s unthinkable but this is Ielua Ielua’s reality. 

The father of three from Malie-Uta said they have no stable electricity and water supply and use a water-sealed toilet.

His family lives in a house that resembles a picnic hut with algae-ridden wooden posts, and an iron roof covered with plastic bags and empty cartons.

“A house is what we need the most. We use papers and plastics to cover the roof of our house. The first house that we had was damaged by Tropical Cyclone Gita. It is hard to maintain our house because we cannot use nails to hold down the plastic that we use to cover the roof, so we get heavy objects to hold down the roof,” he told the Samoa Observer. 

“We have been here for more than 30 years now. The toilet that we use is a water sealed toilet. I am trying my best so that my children would have a healthy life.” 

Having access to clean water is also a challenge with Ielua indicating that it is yet to be addressed. 

“We have taken a proposal to have our water supply set up but still there hasn’t been anything done about it. We rely on the rain and the water gallons that we use to collect water. It would be so much easier if we had a water tank. That way water would be more accessible.”

Electricity for the house comes courtesy of their neighbours through an extension cord. And while he wants to connect the power, he does not have money for installation. 

Ielua is currently unemployed with his wife being the sole breadwinner of the family. As a man he acknowledges his role as a father to fend for his family, but they decided that his wife should seek employment while he worked on the plantation. 

“She works while I stay home and grow our crops. All my children are young and all three are in school. In terms of school fees and the children’s meals, this is what my wife mostly spends her pay on, making sure that our children attend school and are well-fed,” he added.

The welfare of their children takes precedence over everything else including building a proper home for the family according to Ielua. For anyone willing to help Ielua and his family, contact 7726549 or 7790550.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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