As long as you need them and they need you, that’s family.
And that’s exactly how it is with Utumapu Laasia and his family.
Speaking to the Village Voice, Utumapu said he stays with his sisters and unlike them; he’s still a single man.
Utumapu is 59 years old and his commitment is still to his family from when he was a young boy.
“I’m so old now but the idea of having a family of my own never crossed my mind,” he said.
“Growing up with my sisters and having them to depend on me for almost everything was my responsibility back then.
“Now they have families of their own and they still need my help, and they still rely on me to take care of things at home.
“Since they all work, they always come home with tired eyes and expect food to be ready at that time.
“That’s where I come in because I cook, I tidy and clean things up, and I also look after our small shop in front of our house.
“So besides money from the working people’s wages in our family, we have the shop for extra money.
“Sometimes we sell our nius at the market.
“I don’t mind doing any of that because whenever I need help, my sisters are the first ones to lend a helping hand.
“All I can say is that I’m used to this life; being someone who was responsible for my sisters when we were younger has stuck with me up to now because they are my family.
“They need me and I need them and that’s how things are.
“And I think I’ve been so caught up with my responsibilities to them that I didn’t know how to live my own life.
“But that’s okay. I’m thankful I belong to a family.”