Elderly father tells of struggles and hardship

By Nefertiti Matatia 05 April 2018, 12:00AM

Life is tough for 67-year-old Simi Tafili. 

Being bedridden and living in a small shack makes matters even worse.

While the nation enjoyed the Easter holiday on Monday, the father of three shared his problems with the Samoa Observer at Aleisa.

He has gout and during Tropical Cyclone Gita, his condition made it a life threatening experience for him. While his house was getting torn apart by the cyclone, he struggled to seek refuge elsewhere.

Today, his main concern is his family. There are 10 people who live in their rundown hut at Aleisa. He fears for the safety of his children. 

“There are a lot of us living here,” he said. “My brother’s son and his family, he has three children as well. I had five children but two passed away.”

“During the cyclone it was terrible. The iron roof of the house was blown away and we all had to evacuate immediately.” 

“We had no choice but to seek refuge at our neighbour’s place and even their house was bad.”

He explained: “It was like we were having a shower in there. It was leaking everywhere but we were thankful that the roof of the house wasn’t blown away like our house.”

“We were all standing around looking for a right space that was not leaking. The rain was coming both ways, from the ceiling and the windows.”

“Inside of our house was also damaged because the foundation of our house was not cemented; it was made of wood. So when things started to fall down, the strong winds destroyed the floor because we had no more iron roof.”

They have been living there for three years.

The elderly man says life for him has been difficult because he tries to make a living.

Each penny that he makes is not enough to provide for the many people in his family and the cost of living increases every time, he says. 

“There are three of us who work, me and my two sons. My responsibility is to look after the land and clean it up. This land does not belong to me but I watch over it.”

“I grow crops and work on the plantation so that my children could have food. We really need assistance with our house.”

“All these extra woods that we have around are what we found. The foundation of our house is made out of plywood and it was easily damaged.”

He adds even their tarpaulin was damaged and they are seeking help to ensure a proper shelter for his family.

By Nefertiti Matatia 05 April 2018, 12:00AM

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