Back to school heavy on mother’s mind

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Pelelina O’oto talks about her struggles.

Pelelina O’oto talks about her struggles.

Life is far from being a bed of roses for Pelelina O’oto.

The mother of 10 shared with the Village Voice team her daily struggles that haunt her with the dawn of every new day. 

The 44-year-old from Manono-uta says she is unemployed and having no proper water connection for two years now is her biggest nightmare. 

Mrs. O’oto has three children who work, but only her eldest child has a permanent job.

They used to have a water tank at Faleasiu where they used to live, but when they returned, their water tank had been removed.

“A water tank is what we need the most since I have many children. It is a struggle when we face drought because my family relies on the rain to cater to our everyday needs,” she said. 

“We are still waiting if the Red Cross people would come back so we could ask them if we could get our water tank back because we do not have the money to buy a water tank.”

Mrs. O’oto says her husband is also unemployed.

FAMILY DOES THEIR BEST TO COPE: Pelelina’s home.
FAMILY DOES THEIR BEST TO COPE: Pelelina’s home.

They sell vegetables and crops from their plantation and banana chips to earn a living and to help their eldest son with their bills.

“I have five children who still attend school, two are attending Aana College and the other three are still in primary level. 

“I feel pressured, especially now when school is about to resume soon and we do not have any money.

“The money that we receive from selling all our goods would amount to only $80 and that would be enough for only one child’s uniform.

“My eldest son is a carpenter and he gets paid $160 and with that money, we use it to help with his sibling’s school stuff and we don’t have enough for food.”

She says with the cost of living today, everything has to do with money and that is an added burden. 

Mrs. O’oto says if they had money, they would have bought a water tank ages ago.

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