Family toughs it out in unstable house

The last destructive cyclone to hit Samoa did not spare the home of 53-year-old Maletile Liaina and her family.

The family’s house in Lotofaga village on the south coast of Upolu Island was destroyed by the storm in early 2018 and they had to rebuild from scratch.

“Our main worry is the condition of our home, we were very sad when the cyclone passed and our house was no longer standing, and from the materials that were left we had to rebuild it again,” she said. “When the cyclone happened, I feared for my children’s lives, we sought refuge at one of our relative’s homes.”

The family has lived on that land, a 40-minute drive from the Samoan capital Apia, for over a decade. But their socio-economic challenges, brought on by their lack of formal employment, continues to make life a challenge.

According to Mrs Liaina, her family does not have options, unless her husband works part-time to clean a plantation and gets paid for it. 

“Our family did not have any choice because we did not have any financial support to pay for building materials,” she added. “My husband tries to part time as a farmer to help clean and maintain other people’s plantations and if we are lucky he earns around a $100 a week.”

Naturally, their two children are their focus, and most of the family’s expenses are associated with the children’s education. These include school fees and other forms of fee.

“We have two children and most of our expenses are spent on their education in terms of school fees and extra fees that come with it. The children also need bus fares and lunch money so some of the money is spent on that.”

Thankfully, unlike other families struggling to make ends meet, this family has access to water and power. 

The condition of their house is a major concern and will continue to be a sticking point for Mrs Liaina, especially when there is a storm. 

“It is a bit difficult for us to live under one roof when heavy rain is accompanied by strong winds. The structure till now is not stable and we live with worry at times. At the moment, my youngest son is sick and stays home with me. My sons also help their father with his plantation work.”

The work of their father in the plantation also keeps the family going, added Mrs Liaina.

If you are willing to help the family please contact the number: 7285491.

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