Having no other option but to use rusty drums to store water, Makerita Opapu, from the village of Saleimoa, tells her story of the struggles with water cuts.
Aged 17, Makerita says that the constant problem they face in her area is the prolonged water cuts leaving them wandering the roads in search of water sources.
“We go through a lot of water problems in my area,” Makerita told the Village Voice.
“It’s lucky that we have our water drum and other small water storage containers because it helps us quite a bit during water cuts.”
“As you can probably see with all our buckets lying around, we constantly go through problems with water. We would have water coming through our pipes some days but the majority of the time, we have no water.”
Despite having water pipes leading to her house, Makerita says that when the water goes off, it’ll be a while before it comes back on again.
“We have water pipes but a lot of the time we’ll find ourselves waiting for the water to come on but it never does,” she said.
“It’s not easy living like this especially with water being an essential need. We don’t own a car so we have to walk all the way to the coastal area to find someone who will let us use their tap to fill our buckets.”
“The hard part of this is walking and carrying the heavy buckets of water back. What choice do we have but to make the long journey to look for water and then carry it all back when we don’t have running water?”
“That’s now a part of our life.”
But luckily, Makerita has some family members who help out when needed.
“That’s one of our struggles,” she said.
“Some days it’s not that hard because my uncle helps us out. I am very grateful for his car because he would sometimes let us transport our heavy buckets in it.”
“But I know that I can’t always rely on him because he has his own family to take care of.”
Although her family struggles, Makerita remains optimistic about their situation.
“We have a big family so we need water,” she said.
“I am thankful for our water drum even though it’s not enough. We always find ourselves waiting for the rain to come so we can have some water.”
Asked how everything else in life was for her and her family, Makerita replied saying that everything was great.
“On the bright side, the one thing I love about living inland is that even if we don’t have money, we have land to grow some crops,” she said.
“We can grow taro and vegetables for our daily meals so we are all right with food. It’s also very peaceful most of the time in our area.”
“We have three people currently employed so our money goes towards covering basic necessities, as well as church and village obligations.”