Struggling long after Cyclone Evan

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L. Likou ,

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TRYING HER BEST TO HELP HER FAMILY THROUGH WEAVING: 54-years-old, Matau’aina Aiava, from the village of Vaie’e.

TRYING HER BEST TO HELP HER FAMILY THROUGH WEAVING: 54-years-old, Matau’aina Aiava, from the village of Vaie’e. (Photo: Misiona Simo)

Life is tough enough as it is. But when a cyclone comes calling, blowing away everything, it becomes so much harder.

Matau’aina Aiava from the village of Vaie’e has been trying to find any means necessary to fix her house, which was destroyed by Cyclone Evan.

But this has been no easy task for her and her family with the little they make.

“I am happy that we have family from overseas who are visiting us but when they leave we go through many problems,” she explained to the Village Voice.

Matau’aina is not afraid to admit her situation and her need for assistance from anyone who wants to help her family.

“I admit that we are poor and we don’t have much to make ends meet on a day to day basis,” she said.

“We have one person currently working in this house. My son has been working as a teacher for two years now and everyone knows that a teachers’ pay is very little.”

“The money my son makes is nowhere near enough to cover everything our family needs. You see, we have village and church obligations; we have to put the young ones through school.”

“Everyone in the family goes out to desperately look for little bits of money to help out but it’s never enough.

“My brother from New Zealand sends some money every now and we make good use of it. We try our best to make it stretch as much as possible.”

Matau’aina says that everything is alright with the family, she just needs help with her house.

“We have a plantation around the side which we use for food which is good, the only thing we struggle with is fixing up this rundown house because it wasn’t our fault it’s like this; we can’t control the cyclone.”

Matau’aina tries to do her part in the family through her talent in weaving but admits that it’s not easy to make a living on mats and handicrafts.

“I am currently weaving mats for the village committee,” she said.

“After I give the mats to the village council then I will see if I can sell some to make a little bit of money for my family. I know that every one understands that weaving is not any easy task.”

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