Struggling from lack of water and abundance of thieves

By Vatapuia Maiava and Deidre Fanene ,

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LIFE MAY BE HARD BUT I STILL DO MY BEST: Pene Wei, from the village of Tuana’i, in her plantation

LIFE MAY BE HARD BUT I STILL DO MY BEST: Pene Wei, from the village of Tuana’i, in her plantation (Photo: Misiona Simo)

For Pene Wei, from the village of Tuana’i, she is faced with a number of challenges but she believes in always going forward no matter what.

Not having water in her area since 2007 proves to be a real struggle with water needed for her farming work and her daily living.

“I cleared this land back in 2007 so that I can have even more space for my farm,” Pene told the Village Voice.

“From then till now, we haven’t had any water in the area and it makes things a little harder for the family.

“I would pay people to use their cars to transport buckets of water here to use for my plantation and for other daily requirements.

“We drink out of water buckets; we use that water for food and for bathing too. I even use a tarpaulin to gather rain water when it rains.

“Life is very difficult not having any water here at my house. We need water for almost everything in life, even with farming.

“But life goes on I guess.”

 If things weren’t hard enough, the results of her hard work are stolen a lot of the time. Pene explains how so many people come and take from her plantation.

She explains how frustrating it is to work really hard and then right before she can reap from it, thieves come in the night and steal it.

“I guess that’s the main problem we have here in our village,” Pene said.

“I would go to check my banana trees and people have already taken the bananas. Even my ginger plantation, people just come and dig it up and run away.

“It makes me so angry and whoever the person is; they have no love for a struggling woman. The thief will never be satisfied with their life.

“If he or she tries to sell it then the money won’t be enough for the person because the Lord sees how they tried to benefit from the hard work of others by stealing.”

Even when faced with these problems, Pene’s resilience outshines her loss.

“I go through all these challenges but I will never be swayed by it,” she said.

“I will continue my farming work because I need the money and I don’t want anything to get in my way of providing for my family.

“If you don’t work and just sit down whining, you won’t get anything out of life.”

This has been Pene’s life for about 30 years and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My family isn’t a big one; it’s just me, my husband and my children,” she said.

“My husband lives closer to the main road because he’s ill and I stay up here with one of my children because I take care of the plantation and make money from it.

“I have been working as a farmer for over 30 years now and it has helped my family in so many ways, especially when it comes to money.”

Even with unavailability of water and so many thieves causing problems, Pene is still able to make a hefty amount of money from her farming work.

“Right now I make quite a bit from selling cabbages,” she said.

“I take them to the shop along with my other crops and make about $100. At the end of the week I would have earned between $600 to $700.

“The money goes into covering the children’s schooling expenses as well as taking care of my sickly husband.”

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