A road of suffering

By Vatapuia Maiava and Ilia L Likou ,

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WE REALLY NEED OUR ROADS FIXED FOR THE WELLBEING OF OUR VILLAGE: Selepa Avon, 35, from the village Saoluafata-Uta, pointing at the bush wall protecting the house from dust

WE REALLY NEED OUR ROADS FIXED FOR THE WELLBEING OF OUR VILLAGE: Selepa Avon, 35, from the village Saoluafata-Uta, pointing at the bush wall protecting the house from dust

Imagine hanging your washing out to dry only to come back later to find that the dust from the road has ruined all your whites.

What about having you and your family’s lungs exposed to prolonged dust from the road?

That’s a small taste of Selepa Avon’s life in the village of Saoluafata-Uta. Plagued by road problems for far too long, Selepa’s only wish is for the government to come and help her village with the road.

She explains that even though water access is sometimes an issue for a few villagers, the state of the road is the bigger issue.

“We count ourselves lucky because we have running water but the water pipes don’t reach the families further inland,” Selepa told the Village Voice.

“The biggest problem we are currently facing is the roads. We don’t even have any buses running to our village. We had buses before but they stopped coming because the roads are just too bad.

“These are a few of the issues our village faces and if possible, we really need them addressed.”

One of the problems faced by having a bad road is damage to the vehicles. It causes problems for public transport and it also puts families off from buying cars only to have them ruined.

State of the road at the village of Saoluafata-Uta
State of the road at the village of Saoluafata-Uta

“Many families want to get cars but when they do, it’s all ruined because of the state of the road,” Selepa said. “In the long run, no car can last on a road like ours so many families refrain from buying cars because at the end of the day, it’s all a waste of money.

“Because of the road stopping buses from coming and families from buying cars, many of villagers have to walk all the way to the main road if they want to catch the bus to town. It’s not easy living like this.

“And when we come back then we have to walk all the way back up here.” Selepa says that when someone falls seriously ill in the village, they have a low chance of getting to the hospital in time due to the roads. “If someone desperately needed to go to the hospital and they have to wait for a car then by the time they get to the hospital then it will be too late,” she said.

“In all seriousness though, taxis and buses won’t come up here so the only option people have in emergency cases is to rush to neighbours who already have cars. “You can imagine the struggle we have there.”

Selepa also explains that it is a health hazard for all the families in the village. “Our roads weren’t always this bad,” she said.

“We had so many buses coming up to our village before but we understand why they have stopped. Another issue is all the dust when vehicles drive by really fast.

“My concern is the health of my children and the things in the house which get ruined from all the dust. The only thing we have to protect us from the dust is the bush wall. “It would be nice if the government could help our village out.”

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