Plantation and family sustain elderly father

Misipalauni Sulu has slept on a bed of rocks for ten years.

Despite a lack of material comforts, the father-of-eight is grateful for the non-material comforts in his life.

On Saturday mornings, the 70-year-old tends to his plantation or vegetable garden as part of his daily chores - but age only allows him to do so much. 

Among the things the elderly father is grateful for is the financial support through a monthly pension that helps to sustain his family in challenging times. 

Another comfort is non-material.

Mr. Sulu lives with his son in their small shack made of iron roofing, tree trunks which support the roof and the floor is covered with mats.

Mr. Sulu said that his youngest son left school so he could look after him because he does not have enough strength as before.

“I am grateful for the love of my son because he sacrificed his education to stay and care for my needs as you know I am not getting any younger,” he said. 

“I pray that God will shower his blessings upon him for choosing to stay. Every Saturday, my son would prepare materials for Sunday’s umu [traditional Samoan earth oven].

“My main concern is the current state of our home, during rainy days the tarpaulins cannot stop the rain from getting inside and causing discomfort to our sleeping quarters.”

Their family 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.  

“We used to live in a smaller hut but then we moved to our current home because it has a stronger build,” said Mr. Sulu.

He shared that the family subsists off a $160 monthly pension.

“I thank the Government that the pension has increased because it has helped us every month to survive through food supplies, paying water bills and church commitments," he said. 

“I do admit that despite life not being easy but we thank God that we wake up every morning blessed with the days added to our life.

“Another problem we face is that we do not have electricity supply; when it is dark we use a lantern to guide us through the night.”

Mr. Sulu added that sometimes his other children and grandchildren visit so he does not feel lonely.

“We are Samoan and so simple living has been the norms, just like living off the plantation or the land that is our way of life," he said. 

If you are willing to help the family of Mr. Sulu please contact the numbers: 7793514 or 7731427.

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