For Gasologa Keniseli, from the village of Falelauniu, her struggle with water is an unusual one.
Aged 32, Gasologa explains how her family faces the issue of having water cuts followed by dirty, slug-infested water. Her main concern is the health of her family who have no other choice but to use the unsanitary water.
“We have running water but there are occasional water cuts,” she told the Village Voice.
“When it’s raining then for some reason we will have water cuts followed by very dirty water when it comes back on.”
“Not only is the water dirty but when we turn it on for long after it rains, there are slugs that come out. It’s a real health issue for us and we hate using the dirty water.” With water being a needed substance for everyday use, Gasologa’s family puts aside the risks posed and use the water anyway.
“We all know that water is used for cooking but this kind of water shouldn’t be,” she said.
“It’s hard to live like this. We leave the water on until we think it’s clear of slugs then we use it for our daily needs. It’s not sanitary and it’s a problem we wish to fix.”
Aside from the slug water problem, Gasologa says that another issue her family faces is the seemingly high cost of living.
“One issue here in Samoa is the high cost of living,” she said.
“Everything seems to be getting ridiculously expensive. When we get the $100 weekly pay from my husband’s job, it finishes right after one shopping trip.”
“It doesn’t help having such a small minimum wage. In terms of money, I personally think that there is poverty in Samoa because everyone seems to always be trying to desperately find money to afford deal with the high cost of living.”
With her children currently in school, Gasologa explains that most of her money goes towards taking care of their schooling needs.
“I have three children who are schooling right now,” she said.
“Most of our weekly spending goes to trying to take care of them and their schooling expenses. A lot also goes towards our baby’s milk.”
“Once all of our children’s expenses are out of the way then we spend the rest to cover our daily meals for the whole family.”
Gasologa also works hard to do her part to help out the family through her vegetable garden.
“It may not be easy, but I still try my best to help my family get by,” she said. “I grow enough vegetables for our meals everyday and I even sell some of them to make a little extra cash. My husband also works but it’s hardly enough.”
“We get my husband’s pay and it actually finishes on that day because there are just too many things to do.”
She may not earn a lot from vegetable sales but Gasologa says that every cent counts.
“My children go and deliver the vegetables to different customers,” she said. “We sell eggplants, peas, tomato and other vegetables and during harvest time, we make up to $20 a day from sales. So that adds on to my husband’s $100 and that’s all we have throughout the week.”
“It’s not an everyday thing.”