Nearly fifty-five years after independence, Moana Petelo, has a simple request for the government.
“Please consider the cost of living,” she said. “It’s way too expensive for many of us.”
The 36-year-mother of six is from Faleasi’u. She works for a local supermarket but she said her salary just cannot sustain her family.
“The money we earn from our work is not enough for our children especially our family,” she said.
“We have family obligations and that’s another challenge.”
Five of Moana’s children are in school.
“That means lunch every day plus school fundraising monies,” she said. “Even when they say school is free, it’s not. It still costs a lot of money.”
Sometimes, Moana and her family don’t have money at all.
“As a mother at first I was thinking of not taking a job because I see that my children are too young.
“But I have no choice. I feel sorry for my husband and my children.”
Moana believes the government should look at ways to lessen the burden on families.
“I know very well that we are not the only family struggling for the sake of our children,” she said.
“I think if there was some sort of benefit for low income families, that would be great.”
For now, every day is a battle of survival.
“What we are focusing on now is making sure that my children have food and school fees,” she said.
“There are too many things that we are obligated to finance these days and the money we have doesn’t even come close to covering everything There are school fees, water and electricity bills.”
But Moana remains strong.
“Life is tough and rough,” she said. “But we’ve just got to cope the best way we can.”