A mother’s tough life

By Ilia L. Likou and Vatapuia Maiava ,

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LIVING UNDER THE SHADOW OF POVERTY: 46-years-old Titi Olive from the village of Fasitoo-Uta.

LIVING UNDER THE SHADOW OF POVERTY: 46-years-old Titi Olive from the village of Fasitoo-Uta. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

In the village of Fasitoo-uta, Titi Olive, 46, lives a struggling life with her family.

Approached by the Village Voice, she explained the situation her family is in.

“You have come and have seen that I am a poor mother,” Titi confesses.

“But I will still try; the father of the family is in New Zealand. You have noticed that my place isn’t very pleasant. I just need help with building a proper house because I want my family to have a proper place to live. I have many children.

“No one in the family works. I was employed before but the pay wasn’t enough. There was just enough for the food for the family and that was it.”

Speaking about her former employment, Titi says that it was just enough especially with her children’s schooling expenses.

“We don’t have family to rely on and when I would get my pay on Friday and it will finish early on that day,” she said.

“A lot of my children are in school with some of them living with my sibling in Apia. We have a plantation where my children are tending to right now to help out the family.”

But she does have one of her children currently working to help out.

“I only have one child working for the old lady down the road,” Titi said.

“When she gets her pay then there’s just not enough to cover church commitments, village obligations and especially money to look after the family and the children’s school.

“I have four children in school; two are in school in Apia, one attending Nuuausala and one at Paul VI.”

When asked how her weekly pay of $100 was used she replied.

“The $100 we got weekly is not enough,” Titi said.

“It covers about three days and that’s it. The cost of living is just too expensive right now. When we run out of money then one of my children will take crops to sell to get some money for the children’s school.

“But the money we get from the crops depends on what’s available. It depends on the fully grown bananas or taro. It’s not an everyday source of money for us.

“Whatever we get to sell then that will help us. I am just waiting for more of my children to get jobs to help out the family.”

With the ongoing debate about poverty in Samoa, Titi strongly agrees that there is poverty and that her family is currently living under its shadow.

What about church commitments and village obligations?

“A lot of money goes to Church commitments because there are many church activities,” says Titi.

“We tithe every Sunday and give money to help with funerals within the church as well as money to help out with the church building.”

Titi concluded by requesting some help from the government.

“We have water and electricity,” she began.

“Every family in Samoa is living on cash power. But if we have no money then we have no power. Our family is standing alone at the moment helping one another.

“The government hasn’t done anything; we need help with our roads and water pipes. The water pipes don’t reach the families further in land.

“Our roads here aren’t complete too, the ones to the plantation lands for different families. We have already requested help for these matters.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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