Daily struggles of Akelei

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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UNEMPLOYMENT IS A BIG PROBLEM: Akeli talks about his struggles.

UNEMPLOYMENT IS A BIG PROBLEM: Akeli talks about his struggles. (Photo: Nefertiti Matatia)

Life has given Akelei Tauevatuloto a hell of a tough ride.

Divorced and unemployed, Mr. Tauevatuloto finds himself in the midst of his misery, living in a shack with no stable water supply. 

He also has no electricity and a proper toilet. 

Life is hard for the father of two. 

Since he got separated from his wife and his daughters, he now lives close to his parents and takes care of them. 

Mr. Tauevatuloto shared with the Village Voice team that his main concern is his parents. 

“My parents are also facing the problem of not having a proper toilet. There are materials to build it, but we don’t have enough money to get cement and things like that.”

“My father is 79 and my mother is 76. They are both old. With the money that I earn, it is never enough for our family.” 

“I am the one who is responsible for my parents while my other siblings have moved on with their own lives and they have their own little families to worry about,” said the 52-year-old.

Mr. Tauevatuloto says there is no stable income from selling his crops.

“It is not easy looking after your parents and you have no stable job. I rely on the land for survival. I usually make $40 from the crops that I sell.”

UNEMPLOYMENT IS A BIG PROBLEM: Akeli talks about his struggles.
UNEMPLOYMENT IS A BIG PROBLEM: Akeli talks about his struggles.

“I sell my crops to people who look for taro and instead of going to the market they just turn here to my home and give me $40 for two bags of taro.”

“I work the land so that my parents would have something to eat,” he said.

Mr. Tauevatuloto adds he has been trying to save money to build a proper house for him but money is always the issue.

“This house that I am living in belongs to my brother who is in Malie with his wife’s family. I have moved here to look after our land.”

“I am now trying to build my own house so that there would be no conflict in our own family. I want to be independent on my own.”

“Even though they have moved to their spouse’s house and things like that, there will be a certain time that they will come back here.”

He also mentioned the condition of the house he lives in.

“I have been living here for quite some time now and this has always been the same issue that I face with water.” 

“I don’t mind having no electricity, but as long as I have water then I could definitely make it until the next day.”

“I get water from the water tank that is located at my parents place. I have used iron gallons to store water for other purposes but I definitely cannot drink from it.”

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