Family desperate for a water tank

Access to water has become a daily struggle for Kipalai Sala'a and his family from Lotofaga.

The 59-year-old was at home with his wife and children and grandchildren when the Samoa Observer visited the family Saturday.

They moved to Lotofaga from Savai'i three years ago and built a house — based on the traditional design of a Samoan fale with a roof made out of corrugated iron and coconut leaves — on land belonging to his wife's family.

All the children were in the house, huddled around their mother, when this newspaper did the interview with their father. 

Mr. Sala'a said accessibility to water is his family's biggest challenge and days without rain can be cruel for the family.

“We do not have access to any water supply, we depend mainly on the rain. But during days when there is absolutely no drop of rain water, my children have no choice but to carry buckets to seek water from families who have water.

“But because families who have water live so far from our house, it takes hours for my sons to get our water," he said.

The family needs a water tank to be able to store water, as they have been using two rusty 44-gallon drums as a storage alternative, for sometime now.

“I wish we had a water tank so that we can store water. At the moment we store water in two old, rusted gallons because we have no other option," he said.

Mr Salaa said they used to have access to their village’s water scheme, but due to piping issues they lost that vital access. 

“Water is life because we cannot live without; it is used for various purposes like cooking, drinking, washing dishes or clothes, and of course bathing.”

The condition of their house is also another challenge that they have to work around over the last three-plus years. 

The house was literally built using abandoned material that could be found at that time, with its corrugated iron and coconut leaf roof held together by an old volleyball net. 

“As you can see our home is small but there are a lot of us, the house is made up of materials that were available to us at the time we moved from Savai'i to Upolu.

“During the previous years’ our home has been the victim of cyclones and every time we try to rebuild always with whatever we have. During rainy days, the roof leaks and we also need tarpaulins to stop the rain from coming directly inside where we live,” he added.

Only one member of the family has full time employment, but Mr. Salaa said his son's salary is not enough to cover the family's daily expenses. 

“I am very proud of my son; he is a hard worker despite our financial difficulties. His income is allocated as a priority to my grandkids’ education. I believe that education is the key to my grandkids having a successful future other expenses include food supplies."

Currently, the family also depend on their plantation for taro and coconut which they sell to make a living. 

If you are willing to help Mr. Salaa's family please contact the number 7274356.

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