Mother taking on dual roles

We sometimes take for granted having both a mother and a father.

For some families, they do not have that luxury.

For Sekolastika Tuloto, 54, from the village of Mafafa, Falelatai, she is tasked with being both a father and a mother to her children.

“It’s hard because when my husband passed at the age of 50 my father tried to work all the male-type jobs,” she told the Village Voice.

“Although he was elderly, he still worked hard because he wanted to take care of us. He passed away when he was in his 80’s.”

Since the passing of both men in the family, life for Sekolastika has become a lot tougher.

“We don’t make much money,” she explained.

“The things we have in this house were mainly donations because I don’t have a husband or my father’s strength to lean on. It has been this way since 2014; they both passed away around the same time while the children were still young.

“One of my children is currently schooling in Fiji; my other child is now a pastor and is trying to find money to pay off his education fees at N.U.S.

“We are living on the love of others right now.”

With their only source of income being the sales of red seeds (Lopa), Sekolastika’s family barely makes it through on a day to day basis.

“My family makes money from selling Lopa,” she said.

“We also sell what we get from our plantation. The money is mainly used for our daily necessities such as things for the church, village and family needs.

“We also rely heavily on handicrafts such as hand held fans. The money we make depends on what we have available, if we sell 20 packets of red seeds then that’s what we survive on.

“We sell fans at $5 each and whatever we are able to sell that day is what we use to take care of everything.”

Ever since the passing of Sekolastika’s husband, everyday tasks have piled up for her and her children.

“I feel sorry for my children because no matter how hard it is; they will hike up the mountain to collect raw materials for necklaces and Lopa,” she said.

“We have village obligations to get through with but I think the church is the one thing that requires a lot of attention.

“My children’s efforts to do their part in the family makes me happy, I just pray that they will continue to be blessed with their future.

“There are times when people have work like carpentry jobs where my children will work to and earn money but that doesn’t happen often.

“We don’t have much of a plantation but we are trying to make one; the weight of the plantation work fell on top of the father of the family but that changed when he passed.”

Other than the tough life they live, Sekolastika explained another issue they have in the area they are living.

“The one thing that’s really needed in our area is buses,” she said.

“We have things we need to go down the mountain to buy as well as other activities. We have activities for church where we need to be there by 6am and 7am on Sundays.

 “That’s the main need we have in this area.”

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