Family tries to rebuild from past cyclone

Life has not been kind to 34-year-old Salafai Salanoa of Falefa and her family.

The mother of five lives in a small house on the edge of the forest. You could look through the house to see the forest on the other side, with the structure held up by aging wooden posts, and is covered by a rusty corrugated iron roof. 

Salafai told the Village Voice team that her house was made with material from her previous home, which was destroyed during a cyclone in previous years. 

It was obvious that the family was not able to recover from the cyclone’s destructive path. They have lived for over 20 years on the land where their house sits today. 

“The main problem we have all started when our previous home was completely destroyed by the previous cyclone. We used what was left from our former house, the roof covers and some of the wood to build the one we are using at the moment,” she said.

The dilapidated-looking house is now home to 10 people - Salafai and her husband and their five children as well as her sister’s three children. 

“We have lived here for more than 20 years, the land we are living on belongs to my family.”

“Three of my sister’s children are living with me at the moment so we have a full house. There are five altogether that attend school,” she added.

And her challenges will increase with the rainy season now underway in Samoa.

“In our area, we experience flooding when it rains heavily, it is because of the stream right next door to our home that brings about the cause of the flood.”

ADVERTISEMENT

But it is the threat of cyclone that is her biggest fear and the accompanying rain. 

“My worst fear is another cyclone hitting Samoa due to previous year’s having heavy rainfall accompanying cyclones.”

Her husband currently works and is the bread winner of the family and they are grateful for the blessings that come with his employment.

“We do not have much but we are truly grateful of what we have, we thank God that we have something to eat and if possible something to drink.”

Salafai is a stay-home mother that tends to the children, carries out household chores and gardening. 

While getting through a day has its challenges, the lack of access to clean drinking water is another for her family.

“We have access to water but sadly the water we get is usually dirty or gets cut off for a long period of time.”

“When the water is cut off or dirty it makes it hard for us to have access to safe drinking water or water for bathing.”

“It is with this difficulty that we need a water tank to store water so we will not have any uneasiness with finding water,” she added. 

The lack of a proper home also makes it difficult for the family to have a proper cash power system. 

“That is another concern, you see the cash power is exposed to the rain and sun, but the main worry is when it rains and not forgetting a cyclone which can harm any of my family.”

“I do not want any harm to befall my children but then as a mother we do not have riches or the capability to build a proper home,” she added. 

If you would like to assist the family of Salafai Salanoa please contact the number 7741616.

ADVERTISEMENT
Bg pattern light

UPGRADE TO PREMIUM

Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?