Mother faces basic utilities challenges
It has been five years since 28-year-old Iutita Tavea moved to Samusu from Savai’i with her husband and three children.
And things have not gone according to plan since their relocation. They settled on land belonging to her husband’s family on Upolu, but continue to be confronted with challenges, ranging from the lack of water accessibility to electricity to power-up their lights – currently rely on revenue generated from the sale of cocoa on the street. It is tough for their three boys aged seven, six and five.
“My little boys are young but have been such a big help in our family,” she said.
Her husband, 36-year-old Vaigafa Tavea, previously worked in town. But due to his concerns for his wife and their children, he resigned and move back in order to be closer to his young family.
“My husband was the sole provider, but as you can tell there are no houses nearby. The next house you cannot see from here because of the bushes and trees. He had stopped working because he was away too long and it was just me and children.”
“We are waiting til the children are a bit older for him to go back to work but until then, we have been selling cocoas on the street side to earn income,” she said.
The cocoa sales have helped to put her children in school and buy what they need from the shops. Her husband’s plantation has provided food for them but that is just about it.
“We cannot afford to put the children in school, buy what we need and connect water and electricity. We only make a mere living out of what we sell,” she added.
Her priority is her children’s education and she strongly believes that the sacrifices made would surely pay off.
Their three young boys attend Samusu Primary School and when they were not able to earn an income, they often receive assistance from families overseas.
She is thankful for the assistance they have received from families to help them financially, but they are keen on becoming independent.
Lutita said: “When money is short we get help from my mother-in-law. Our families overseas have helped us but we are doing our best to learn to become more independent to take care of our family.”
For six years they used their neighbor’s electricity to charge their mobile phones, and water tanks to get cooking and drinking water. But for other basic needs like bathing and laundry, they used a water gallon next to their home to collect rain and the streams.
“The water pipe does not reach our home and we do not have a water tank. So instead our neighbors have been kind enough to allow us get water and use their electricity,” she said.
But having a water tank is a long-term solution as it would save them the trouble walking to get water, especially during bad weather and they no longer have to rely on lanterns and torches.
As a mother, she said she wanted to give her children more than what they have now, especially when that means making life more comfortable and easier for them.
“It has been very challenging for us over the years considering our circumstances, but our children make it an effort to give us something to strive and work better for. We need help to get us to better standards of living especially for my children, and right now that is my biggest concern,” she added.
If you wish to get in touch with Iutita Tavea and family, call the number 7236575.