Electricity, lack of water pose challenge for family

Niutoua Tanuvasa Vite and his family have lived for over four years without power and water, basic services that a lot of citizens can take for granted.

Living in Fasitoo-uta on the northwest coast of Upolu, the father of three recounted the struggles his family continues to face.

He built his family house from scratch, using corrugated iron roofing, coconut leaves, tarpaulin and wooden posts while acknowledging that life would be easier if they had access to necessities such as water.

“For years we have struggled with the way we live because of the lack of necessities we need,” he said. “We wanted to connect our water supply but the fee is above $200 with other additional fees which must be paid to the Samoa Water Authority.”

Therefore, in the absence of water accessibility, him and his wife have to walk a fair distance to fetch water from a generous family. The family uses two buckets of water a day for basic needs in the house. 

And while his wife is employed, her weekly salary of $150 goes and food and expenses for their children, leaving nothing to save for the water supply fee. 

“We are not rich but water is necessary for us to survive and also plants and vegetables need it.”

Mr. Vite said he stays at home to look after his plantation which he harvest to support his family through the sales of crops. 

“During night times I feel sorry every time I look into my children’s eyes, because we have to use a lantern to see through the darkness, while we eat and during school times they have to do their school work with barely any light,” he said.  “I pray every night to God for help because our family struggles with so many things. School is starting again and I am tasked with walking my children to school back and forth.”

Acknowledging that it is not safe today for children to walk home alone after school, he said he is now making it his business to walk them to and from school and support their education. 

“I want to protect God’s gift which was given to us parents. I prioritise my children’s education because I want them to have a better future, and also if they have jobs they can also help support our family financially and further develop it.”    

Due to their financial challenges, Mr. Vite said they do not have a phone for good Samaritans to call should anyone wanted to support his family. 

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