Family stays strong in face of adversity

Despite living through a litany of hardships, Faamanatu Penetekoso’s family of five is binding more closely together in the face of adversity. 

The family has been struggling for more than a year without accessibility to water and electricity.

Her home is made out of wood and coconut leaves and is surrounded by a tarpaulin.

The home is situated on the northwest coast of Upolu Island far from the main road and  surrounded by the family’s plantation.

“Due to financial difficulties we have a variety of problems,” she said.

The mother of three said that their family depends on their plantation for survival.

“We are still developing our vegetable garden and plantation to earn some form of income.

“I also weave mats and traditional fine mats to get some income but the process takes a long period of time.

“There is no one employed in our family that can provide a stable income to support our weekly needs. We have two children in school and at times we struggle to send them because they need bus fares, lunch money and other needs for school.

The 45-year-old said that water is one of their main concerns.

“We do not have access to a water supply and that has led to a daily struggle. The water we get is fetched daily through buckets in the morning and the evening.

“Water is a resource that is a necessity in life that every home must have but then we depend on the rain for water as well.

“It has been more than a year’s struggle to walk to get water and come back home, but we all bathe at the village spring while fetching water.”

She told the Village Voice team that they also do not have access to electricity.

“We have an electric light that needs to be charged so we always ask villagers that have electricity if we can charge them there, but of course we have to pay for using their power.

“But then sometimes we use the light God blessed us with from the moon but at times it is a hassle to not see in the darkness.

“And we have to take our children early in the morning to the main road so they catch the buses to town to attend their schools.”

Ms. Penetekoso added that her family has been gathering materials to renovate their existing home.

“Another help that we need is to assist with fixing our home. We face problems during rainy days because the roof leaks and there are not enough tarpaulins to stop the rain coming inside the house," she said. 

“Ever since the lockdown happened we wait every Sunday for the church bells and we gather with other relatives to do a prayer before preparing a meal.”

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Penetekoso please contact the number: 7586843.


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