Too many rules, but I put my family first – Segia Tuiala Mealofa

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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Segia Tuiala Mealofa o Solosolo.

Segia Tuiala Mealofa o Solosolo. (Photo: Vatapuia Maiava)

“There are many hardships in my family,” confessed 40-year-old Segia Tuiala Mealofa from the village of Solosolo to the Village Voice.

“With little pay, there is a lot of pressure on those who work because we need money for so many things. We need to look after children and other family members like my mother who lives here.”

What is the main source of money for your family?

“My husband is a carpenter and he earns about $150 in an ideal week,” says Segia.

“But other times we would get only $50 a week which is not nearly enough to take care of the children. That $50 won’t be able to pay for food, clothes and other essentials.

“Aside from essentials, we need money for village and church things. With only one person working in this family and with little pay; after village and church obligations there is not enough for our children.

“My siblings and I live on this piece of land. We would eat separately and not together as a family so as to make things easier because there’s just not enough money to share.”

You mentioned hardships, what other forms of hardships does your family face?

“One tough thing about life here is that the village committee is very tough on us with punishments,” says Segia.

“We get in trouble when we simply don’t mow the lawn. We can get fined up to $500 if we do not mow our lawn. That just makes things very hard.

“The hardships we face here makes me just want to go back to my family in Savaii.”

Are there any others?

“The village council can be very biased sometimes,” says Segia.

“The rules they force upon us don’t count towards their own families and it’s not fair. Just because we are originally from a different village and moved here a long time ago, they treat us like outsiders.”

With money going to so many things here in the village, what is your utmost priority?

“To be honest, I put my children and family above all else,” says Segia.

“I only give money to the church because I don’t want to pay double next time. This should be about love and if we don’t give then we shouldn’t be scared that we might get beaten up by someone.

“My family is more important than the church and that’s how I see it.”

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