Life without electricity in Samoa

By Vatapuia Maiava and Deidre Fanene ,

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DOING ALL WE CAN TO SURVIVE: Afolautoi Manufili, 36, from the village of Nu’u at her family’s cabbage patch

DOING ALL WE CAN TO SURVIVE: Afolautoi Manufili, 36, from the village of Nu’u at her family’s cabbage patch

A family living without electricity in Samoa is something most of us would find hard to believe.

But for Afolautoi Manufili, from the village of Nu’u, her family has been living in the dark for about five years now.

The family migrated from Savaii to Upolu five years ago and ever since then they have been living without any electricity simply because they cannot afford it. Afolautoi says that living like that isn’t easy. “My family is actually from Asau, Savaii, this land belongs to my husband’s mother and we are happy to have to,” she said.

“Living on this land meant a lot of opportunity for my family and we are grateful to have it. As grateful as we can be, there are still a few issues my family currently faces.”

“Ever since we have lived on this land, we haven’t had electricity simply because we can’t afford it. We don’t have enough money to take care of basic needs let alone get power to our house.”

The family does have lanterns which run on batteries but that is only used on emergency situations. Every other night is spent in their pitch black house.

“We have flashlights but we can’t afford batteries, we only use it in cases of emergency,” she said.

“But at night time we live in the dark. My mother makes a little over $100 from her work a week and that’s not enough at all. We have bills to pay and the children to put through school.”

“On top of that we have to have enough for our everyday meals, that money is not enough at all. That’s one of the biggest struggles with our life.”

Aside from the issue with electricity, Afolautoi says that another struggle the family faces is the high cost of living.

“With the little money our mother makes, the rest of the family works hard on our plantation and in the sea to make a living,” she said.

“We all work very hard but at the end of the day, it’s hard to fight the high cost of living. Nowadays $20 feels just like 10cents; that’s how high the cost of living is right now.”

“That’s why the government needs to show a little more love to the people. This country suffers because it’s hard to make a lot of money and yet everything gets more and more expensive.”

Afolautoi’s message to the government and business people is to please show some love for the struggling families in Samoa.

“My request to the government is to please make some of the much needed store bought goods a little cheaper,” she said.

“Right now the things we really need in the shop are very expensive and the struggling families can’t afford it. I know they hold the power to do so but they don’t seem to care about how we suffer.”

“The same goes to the business people, I know they are just making money but they can still profit and not increase their prices. It would really help we who don’t have much.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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