Taimasa family tell of the challenges

Fa'ataualofa Taimasa and her children have lived a simple life in the past decade – surviving on their father’s $100 a week wage supplemented by her sales of vegetables and coconuts.

The family live on the south coast of Upolu, over 46 kilometres from Apia through the Main East Coast Road, in two small houses built with coconut leaf roofs and wooden posts.

Faataualofa had just returned from the plantation after collecting coconuts with her four children. 

Extreme weather, such as during the November-April cyclone season, has always been a challenge for the family as they worry about how much more their two traditionally-built houses can withstand.

“Our home is built in a simple way with whatever materials we can get our hands on, there are two houses but we use both, we are fortunate to have iron roofing but during rainy days water manages to get inside the house,” she said. 

“The space is also small but when my relatives come over there are so many people under a small roof. We also have problems with the water sometimes especially during these times of heavy rainfall the water becomes dirty, so we have to boil it before consumption.”

Every night, as families around Upolu and Savai’i switch on their lights, the Taimasa family members reach for a lantern to light up their homes and find their way around.

“The main struggle we face is the inaccessibility to the electricity supply,” she said. “We need to pay a fee of $200 to the Electric Power Corporation for the electricity to be connected to our home but we do not possess that much money.”

And it is next to impossible for the family to save portions of their father’s wage to pay the Electric Power Corporation’s fee. 

Faataualofa said: “Despite my husband being employed he only earns around a $100 a week which is allocated for food supplies, church commitments and other expenses for taking care of the children. We would like to save up money but we have so little to budget for so many things.”

With the 2020 academic just under two weeks from starting, the 31-year-old mother said they want to get electricity connected, which would enable her to iron three of her children’s school uniforms. 

Selling vegetables and coconuts to supplement her husband’s wage, she acknowledges that their challenges remain unresolved. 

But right now she is worried about the heavens opening to unleash another cyclone, which she knows could lead to the demise of their homes.

If you are willing to help the family of Mrs. Taimasa please contact the numbers: 7637295 or 7644112.

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