Imagine living on tea alone when you find yourself not having enough money for food.
That’s how life is for Lesina Saveali’i, from the village of Papauta and her family. She explains that there are days when her family has to live on only tea because they can’t afford food.
And on good days, they survive tea and boiled taro. She says that one of the issues faced by many Samoans is the size of the family.
When many people live under one small roof and there are only a few people working for money, there’s no helping the desperate situation of having only tea for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“As you can see, my house is not all that great,” Lesina told the Village Voice.
“My family’s land isn’t enough to develop a large plantation on for our survival. I admit that life is very tough and my family doesn’t have much to survive on.”
“I recently married and my husband and I have just one child. We live here with my husband’s family and there are two people under this house who hold steady jobs.”
“But even with the pay they make, it’s nowhere near enough for everything we need; the cost of living these days is too high.”
On top of not earning enough money, Lesina says they struggle because everything is getting too unaffordable at the stores.
“There are many days when all we have for meals is just tea,” she said.
“Most of the time we would just eat cooked taro or bananas but we have grown accustomed to that type of lifestyle.”
“My husband works and he makes about $120 a week and trying to live on just that is not easy at all. We have many people living under our house and it is so small.”
“Trying to fit in this small house is one of the issues we face as a family.”
Lesina and her small family have plans but those plans are foiled because of the inability to save up what they need.
“My husband and I are planning to build a house somewhere we can go and live as a small family,” she said.
“It will help us a lot when there are fewer people to take care of with the little money we make because right now, making ends meet for a large family and little money is almost impossible.”
“But we have to save up quite a bit for that plan.”
Lesina says that her husband makes about $120 a week and that money is spent on that same day and they have no other means of making a little extra cash.
“Whenever my husband gets his pay, the money is all spent on that same day to cover all the needs we have,” she said.
“We don’t have any money left over for the other days in the week. On top of that, the land we live on is covered in rocks so there goes any plan we have to build a plantation to make a little extra cash.”
“We are really struggling as a family but we haven’t given up on trying to make it work. Even trying to save money is out of the question because we make so little.”
“But that’s life for us and we have to try and deal with it.”