Mother of six appeals for new house
A rusty piece of folded iron sheet sat on top of the coconut leaf roof of her traditional Samoan house.
The faleo'o was held up by about 12 wooden posts and had no walls, just a few pieces of timber nailed against the posts around the house, probably the most basic form of protection against intruders or even animals.
Telesia Paulo, a 32-year-old mother of six children from Leauvaa-uta, was at home doing household chores when the Village Voice team visited her and her family.
The traditional Samoan house has been home to her, her husband and their children for over three years. And they continue to dream of having a better home – one that would withstand the forces of nature.
“As a mother, my main concern is the current state of our home because I have a lot of children and my family is growing but I dream of providing a better home.
“My greatest fears are cyclones and strong winds because the roof of our house is made of coconut leaves the winds can easily blow it away and because it has already occurred to our home last year when Cyclone Gita struck Samoa.
“The roof of our house was completely destroyed and so we had no choice but to seek refuge at our other family's home because it was not safe for our family to stay in our house,” she said.
On rainy days the house's roof leaks and the lack of proper walls leaves her children vulnerable, at times compelling her not to sleep at night.
“There are times when I find it hard to sleep at nights because there is nothing to ensure the safety and security of my kids especially my girls – there are no doors or windows.
“It is also scary with prisoners continuing to escape prison, and you never know what can happen and I fear that something bad can happen in the midst of the night," she added.
Telesia yearns for a better home for her children, but her husband is a vegetable vendor and the income he generates from the local market is paltry when considering their list of expenses.
“And then we have to pay bills like electricity and water, not forgetting food supplies and our children’s expenses during the weekdays for school – so by the end of the day we will have used up everything.
“We have access to water but sometimes the water supply gets disconnected for two days straight and we are at a disadvantage having to seek water elsewhere.
“Our only option is asking our other families for water from their water tank and we are very grateful for their help,” she added.
The mother also relayed that despite hardships she continues to pray for God’s help.
“I truly believe that God will always provide the blessings we need and even though we do not have much but I am very grateful for the Lord’s help throughout our journey.
“I also want to acknowledge Samoa Observer’s Village Voice programme, because not everyday someone would lend a helping even if it is through providing a platform to voice our concerns and struggles so that others can heed our call for help.”
If you are willing to help the family of Telesia Paulo from Leauvaa-uta please contact the numbers: 7250951 or 7200331.