Mother of eight dreams of a better life

For most people, a home provides a sense of security, but for Otila Lafaele it produces never-ending worries.

The mother-of-eight can only dream of providing a better home for her children, something she is not able to do due to a lack of resources and financial difficulties.

Otila Lafaele was cooking a meal in an open fire located within their small shelter for her children on a typical Saturday morning when the Village Voice team visited.

Ms. Lafaele’s home is located on the west coast of Upolu and is over 30 kilometres from Apia through the West Coast Road. 

The property has an open plan design with a corrugated iron roof and coconut leaves. It is insulated from the outside only by wooden posts and tree trunks with a torn tarpaulin and fabrics to stop the rain from entering.

Her family recently moved this year from Savai’i to her husband’s family.

“We moved to Upolu because of family reasons and so we are faced with so many obstacles,” she said.

The 46-year-old added that her main worry is the current status of their living conditions.

“I can only dream of a new and proper home for my young children. But in life, we all need money to do certain things such as building a new home. With a small space with no beds  we try and fit in and sleep together with the children. I dread the days when it rains because there are not enough tarpaulins and fabrics to stop the rain from getting inside the house. 

“The materials we used to build our house were gathered around from relatives. There is no one employed but some of our children have started their own families and I have one grandchild.

“My husband collects 400 to 500 coconuts a week to sell so he can earn around $100. It is not an easy task but this is how we survive.”

 She also highlighted that due to their recent moving to a new location, it has led to the family not having access to water and electricity. 

“There are a lot of necessities that we do not have like water supply, electricity and toilet facility, we all use these from our relatives neighbouring homes,” she said. 

“Our family uses four buckets of water a day for daily needs, and because we use an open fire located inside the vicinity of our home, smoke fills up the entire house.

“I know that is not good but we do not have any other options, there is no sink to store the few plates and pots we have.”

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Lafaele please contact the number: 7244304.


Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?