Father shares family’s struggles

By Nefertiti Matatia 26 February 2018, 12:00AM

Falelua Aso is a hardworking father.

Life for the unemployed 49-year-old from Nuusuatia is not a bed of roses.

To raise five children who are all attending school is not easy, and with his plantation being ruined by Tropical Cyclone Gita, he is worried because the land is his source of income.

“The land to me represents life since my family relies on it for survival, because Cyclone Gita has spoiled and ruined my crops, I have reached out to my relatives who are more stable than I am for help.

“I have asked them for help just to recover what we have lost in the natural disaster because we would have to wait for six months to get our crops back.

“I need my plantation just as desperately as my family looks to me for support and provision,” he said.

According to Mr. Aso, he makes more than a $100 whenever he sells his crops at the market every Saturday.

He says his children become very ill because they don’t have a proper kitchen or even a mosquito net. “We need mosquito nets, we just came back from the hospital yesterday to take my son and my daughter just recovered as well. They were taken to the hospital and we were told by the doctors that they are ill because of the mosquito related diseases.

“Despite how many times we clean up the place, there are still mosquitoes around. Staying healthy is not easy, I don’t how to prevent my children from getting sick when I cannot financially support them.”

Mr. Aso says their unhygienic kitchen is a shame when visitors come to their place.

“I always do my best in trying to give the best and to make sure that the food is safe to eat, but I can’t help but think that it is the reason my children are always sick.

“The kind of family that we are, having two spoons or plates, we are very thankful. All the plates that we own we buy them one by one, we cannot buy a dozen.”

His problems do not end there.

“Water supply is another major issue that I face. I am in the water committee in my village. Whenever the tank is being turned on, it delivers the water directly to the places in the low-lying area until when it is full, then whatever is left will be distributed to families such as mine in the high lands.

“There are certain days when the pipelines for the families in low lands would take one to two days to fill up before it reaches my house; the problem is that water supply is not consistent.

He told the Village Voice team they need a water tank.

Even though it rains and they place their gallons to collect as much rainwater as it can, it finishes way before the tap water comes on again.

“Waiting for two days for water is complicated. Fetching buckets of water is not easy since we go to the river to get water.

“Especially having clean water for the bathroom is important for the kids.”

They have been living there for more than eight years and he still struggles with water supply.

“For three years ever since we have renewed our village tank, there has been a major change compared to how it used to be where there was no water supply at all.

“I am planning to build a new proper shower because of my daughter.  We used tarpaulins, but when the cyclone came it ruined it as well.

“She’s my eldest child and she is now in Year 13. Life is not easy and we put away money for my children who are in school.”

For anyone who is willing to help Mr. Aso’s family, contact the number 7681327.

By Nefertiti Matatia 26 February 2018, 12:00AM
Samoa Observer

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