Family gives thanks amidst hardship
With barely a roof over their heads, the family of Fialelei Koonwaiyou return the glory to God for the gift of life itself this Easter.
For over a year, the mother of five has lived with her children and husband in a small open-style shack.
The shelter is made up of tree trunks, wood, coconut leaves as a roof with tarpaulins.
Her home is on the northwest of Upolu.
It is approximately 44 minutes’ drive from Apia via the Main West Coast Road.
As a heavy rain warning has been issued for all of Samoa, Mrs. Koonwaiyou says she is concerned about her family's precarious living conditions.
“With the limited financial support we have, it has led us to a lot of problems [with] our home, water and electricity,” she said.
She told the Village Voice team that her husband does not have a stable job.
“My husband tries and finds work around the village to earn some money but we depend greatly on our plantation," she said.
“During rainy days, the floor of our home gets wet because strong winds carry the rain water inside our home.
“But the rain water can be both a blessing and curse, because we get water from the rain.”
She added that their family does not have access to regular water supply.
“We collect rain water and, if not, we walk very far to fetch four buckets of water twice a day from relatives," she said.
“It is our wish to have a water tank so that we can save water and having to walk quite a distance to get water.
“I am also tasked with other relatives to care for our elderly mother who is crippled and we need water to care for her.”
The 48-year-old said that they also lack access to electricity.
“When it becomes dark we use the natural light from the moon at times but then we also depend on a lantern to guide us," she said.
“And if we have to walk somewhere we always take with us a flashlight.
“Despite not having much but with this Easter celebration we will gather with other family members to say a prayer to mark the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ on Sunday morning and if we are lucky we will have a cup of cocoa with banana in coconut milk.”
If you are willing to help the family of Mrs. Koonwaiyou please contact: 7237167.