Water tank opens new chapter for family

The donation of a water tank to a family that previously resided in Sogi has enabled them to open a new chapter in their lives.

Laumata Leota and her family were relocated to Falelauniu, under a Government-funded relocation program despite opposition by the affected families. 

They are gradually rebuilding their lives after enduring years of criticism over their refusal to relocate with Mrs Leota telling Samoa Observer that access to water at their new home was a major challenge.

“Given all the criticisms we had against the Government with the families trying to hold onto their old lands in Sogi, we’re slowly gaining happiness back into our homes through such love and support,” she said while fighting back tears.

“We tried so much to adapt to our new homes and the new surroundings and the only thing we really needed was water. We feel comfort knowing that this most important part of our lives which we longed for has been granted and we’re just very overwhelmed.”

The  Samoa Victim Support Group (S.V.S.G) Juniors donated a 100 litre water tank to the family. Prior to the donation, Mrs Leota’s children collected water from the neighbour’s tank every morning and afternoon.

Nursing a one-month-old baby without water has also been a challenge for the mother, as at times it was not possible getting water. That comes together with the challenge of living with 17 relatives in the same home, though her siblings and families are now temporarily living with relatives until their houses are constructed.

The SVSG Juniors President, Carmenita Solese-Lepou, told Samoa Observer that they kept on getting increasing requests for access to clean water, which led the water tank assistance initiative.

“This whole initiative started when we saw the number of people coming into our program not having access to clean water and so the whole idea was born from it,” she said.

“We’re always very fortunate in helping such families and we wanted to be the forth-runs in addressing that everyone has the right to clean water.”

Ms. Lepou said she and her team saw how difficult life was for another former Sogi family who resided in the hills of the same area. 

“We’ve experienced today just how hard it is to fetch two buckets of water from where they usually get water from,” she added.

Mrs Leota’s 15-year-old daughter and her siblings would normally fetch water from the neighbours, which her mother admitted was tough for her children.

“I always feel bad for my daughter as we don’t have anyone else to fetch us water every day but just her because she’s the eldest and I have to look after my baby,” Mrs. Leota said.

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