Discarded refrigerator family's lifesaver

A family residing in Upolu who use discarded refrigerators to store their water have appealed for help. They also want assistance to access electricity and to build a bigger and safer home for themselves.

The family’s only breadwinner and father, Jack Naite, told the Samoa Observer that he has a 10-member family and life continues to be a challenge.

“With regards to the water, all the families or at least the majority of the families around this area share one water tank,” he said.

“Water is one of the most important things any person needs in his or her life, but for us we’ve just been going through rough paths trying to save clean water for our survival, especially that of our children.

“Not just water, we also need a new home and real electricity.”

For years the family has lived on a leased Government-owned land, and Mr. Naite says they’ve endured living in a small home, as little as a small room in a normal-sized house.

And with no access to electricity, they make it through each night using a small solar-powered panel, which at most times is unreliable as it doesn't work or use a kerosene lamp.

According to the father of six, water and electricity-supply through the Government has reached their village and its residents,  but until they own the land on which their house is built, they cannot access the services.

Mr Naite said his wife and children rely on rainwater, consequently if there is no rain then they have to purchase bottled water for consumption, especially during bad weather. 

The family had such an experience when Tropical Cyclone Evan hit Samoa in 2012.

In terms of food for consumption, Mr Naite said his family relies on his job wage, which also caters for church, community and family obligations.

With the New Year just around the corner, the worried father said he wants to provide his family a stable home and a normal life for his children. Therefore, he is keen to buy the land that the family is currently leasing.

But the journey to fulfill that lifelong dream for Mr Naite only got tougher with the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on the local economy, leading to a rise in living standards in Samoa.

“I’ve saved up to buy this land and build a better home for my children and wife, especially so we can finally have access to the water and electricity,” Mr. Naite said.

“However that can only be made possible if the Government does something to lower the cost of things around us so we can live an affordable life especially for families in need.

“Would be nice to have a little assistance with a water tank and also for me to buy off this land for my children, I need things to be affordable so that our dream can come true.”

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