Rising debt worries family

By Fetalai Tuilulu’u and Derek Davies ,

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A HELPING HAND IS NEEDED: Mele Fuali Kitiona, mother of four pictured with her youngest son.

A HELPING HAND IS NEEDED: Mele Fuali Kitiona, mother of four pictured with her youngest son.

Family tragedy has led to a string of financial woes for a Magiagi family. 

Mother of four, Mele Fuali Kitiona, pleads for help as her family faces the struggles of rising debt. Mrs. Kitiona, aged 42, lives in Magiagi with her husband, two sons and two daughters. 

Her two daughters both attend Pesega College. Her husband, and their eldest son, work and are paid minimum wage, and are the sole income source for the family.

“On the surface, it might seem as though our family is doing well,” said Mrs. Kitiona.

“However, due to a string of tragedies and the growth of bills and loan repayments over the past year, our family is in dire need of help.”

“Only last year, our family suffered the loss of my father, then shortly after, my sister died, because of the loss of my father last year, and then my sister, we have had to take loans out to make the family fa’alavelave payments.”

“To be honest this is the only way to have enough money for fa’alavelave is a loan.”

The family also has the education of their children to worry about; the tuition fees for the two daughters are $1,000 per student.

“My two daughters attend our family church Pesega middle school and they are required to pay for not only their fees worth thousands but also their stationeries.” 

To make matters worse, the Water Authority just cut off the water to their family home last week, due to an outstanding bill of $1,700.

“I wonder why the Water Authority has to charge our family for our own water?” 

“You see the land where we get our water is owned by my father, why are they charging us for it?” 

“It is the same for the whole Magiagi village, that’s the village’s water.

The Water Authority’s claim adds even more debt to the many that the Kitiona family already has.

Mrs. Kitiona is worried that the pressure of the bills and loan repayments are getting worse. The family is hard-pressed to find a solution to their fast increasing debts.”

“The view of my husband and our eldest son is that more loans are the answer to our problems,” she said. However, the Magiagi mother of four is worried that the family might soon be unable to get further loans until the family’s existing debt is taken care of.

Mele has appealed to Village Voice for help, and urges anyone who can offer help to contact her on 7240218

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