Most people take having a home for granted.
For Samuelu Soamaalii, he reckons the roof over his head is not even a home. It is a makeshift shelter.
Samuelu is one of those unfortunate fathers who have had to deal with trying to provide the best for his children – but limited opportunities and money have made the mission impossible.
For eight years, the unemployed father of two from Fasitoo-uta has witnessed his children sleep on a floor that is not cemented, nor covered with a carpet.
Their home does not have a wall. It is an open house and they inhale the dust from outside because the foundation of their house is low.
To add onto his burden, there is no water supply and electricity connection. They also use a pit toilet.
This was never his dream for his children.
He shared to the Village Voice team his concerns for his youngest daughter who is still a toddler.
“There were four of us who lived here, but our eldest child is now living with my brother in Apia who is sponsoring everything with his schooling.”
“My brother offered to take him in and look after him, so now it is just me, my wife and our daughter who is a toddler,” said the 42-year-old.
He works the land to provide for his family.
“We rely on the land heavily. Everything that we earn from selling our crops is mostly used on providing for our family.”
“It takes time for the crops to grow, so we need to wait and be patient. The problem is when we are short on money and the taro or banana is still not ready, then we need to look into other options.”
He explained: “I sometimes have side jobs with people coming here to get me to work on their houses as a carpenter, but even that it is not much.”
“Whatever money we make we use it to buy food and nappies for our daughter.”
Mr. Soamaalii’s wife cannot work because she has to stay home and look after their daughter.
“What we need at the moment is electricity. There is no water supply that reaches here, which is the reason we have a water tank. We need the rain all the time to fill up the tank. We are looking at fixing our house, but it is a challenge.”
Mr. Soamaalii says life has been difficult with the cost of living and this is one of the reasons they struggle.