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Coconut oil sales keeps family going

For three years Imeleta Faleulu and her family have lived without water and electricity supply, but life goes on thanks to income that they earn from selling locally-made coconut oil.

On Saturday mornings, Mrs. Faleulu’s husband walks around their village to sell coconut oil for $5 while she looks after their five children.

The family’s home is located on the east coast of Upolu, more than 52 kilometres from Apia through the main East Coast Road. It is close to the main road connecting the village which is known for being the home of a large bay fringed by coral reefs.

Thanks to the sale of coconut oil, sometimes the family can make $100 in a week, otherwise they just live off their plantation, if things don’t go according to plan.

Mrs. Faleulu told the Samoa Observer that her and her husband are both unemployed and they depend on their coconut oil sales.

“Once or twice a week, my husband collects 60 to 100 coconuts which he will husk and grate while I am tasked with cooking the oil and adding scented flowers for its unique fragrance,” she said in an interview.

“If we are lucky we can get $100 a week but if not, we will try to live off our plantation.”

The family’s home, made of wood and old and torn tarpaulin which leaks every time it rains, is unlikely to withstand a tropical storm.

The state of their home continues to be a major worry for the 34-year-old mother. 

“We have lived in our small home for more than three years now,” she added. 


“Our family is small but there are so many challenges that we face each day, one of which is the current state of our home that is not in good condition.

“My greatest fear is during rainy days, inside our home, the roof leaks which is why we have used a tarpaulin attached to a sheet to hang just above us while we sleep, so that the water gets collected on that tarpaulin.

“But that does not help when the winds are strong and leads to blowing the rain inside our home, so we have no choice but to squeeze in a small area that is barely dry.”

The family uses two buckets of water every day for their essential needs and fetch it from generous relatives living nearby.

And access to electricity, which a lot of people today take for granted, is a world away for the family. 

“So far, it is difficult for us to have a stable source of income because we have three children attending school while also trying to survive. We do not have electricity supply and instead we use a kerosene lantern for some form of light during night time,” Mrs. Faleulu revealed.

If you are willing to help the family of Mrs. Faleulu, please contact the Samoa Observer as the family do not have a mobile phone.

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