Savai'i father striving for family home
A 57-year-old father from Savai'i is consumed by constant concerns for the health and safety of his children as he struggles to build them a home of their own.
Patolo Etuale said thoughts of his pregnant wife and two children are motivating him to strive to achieve better living conditions for his family-of-four, which is currently sharing a small shack belonging to the father's nephew and his wife.
The living space is shared by two couples and four children.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, the father said they have been staying in Savai'i for over a year now, but they still do not have a home of their own.
"My wife and I used to stay in Upolu," he told the Samoa Observer.
"But we moved here over a year ago to start a new life, and although we have enjoyed the simple life in Savai'i, things have been really difficult for our family."
Patolo works at a coconut company in Savai'i, however, he admits that the money he gets from his daily job is not enough to make ends meet.
"On a good week, I get $100 for my pay and it goes straight into buying food for my family, especially for my children. But usually, I get paid less than $80 a week,” he said.
"When we first moved to Savai'i, my plan was to get a job, save up, then build our own home."
That goal is yet to be achieved, said Patolo.
"Things have been really hard for our small family. It's difficult because my wife is pregnant and I told her not to move around too much and let me handle all the work,” he said.
"I try my best to work hard and do other things to get extra money, like selling taro and cucumber, but it is never enough."
Asked if they have asked their families overseas for help, Patolo said: "We are not the type to call families to send us money.
"We may be poor, but we try our best and rely on ourselves to get by."
Despite facing mounting challenges, the father-of-two is optimistic.
"I am not losing hope nor will I give up my fight. I will keep working hard, for the sake of my children and wife,” he said.
"I will not stop until we have our own home and a proper house for our family."
But he was not hesitant to ask for anyone's assistance in making his dream come true.
"We are in need of a home; a house and a place to stay,” he said.
"We don't want to keep staying with my nephew and his wife for the rest of our lives. We are trying, but it is very difficult.
"This is why I am taking away my pride and humbly asking anyone to please lend us a hand.
"Even if it's just buying us some corrugated iron or cement bags; any help will be much appreciated. We are desperate and we will keep praying that things will get better"
Patolo uttered said collecting water for his family is another problem they continue to face.
"At my nephew's house where we're staying, there is no water and electricity,” he said.
"So we store water in buckets and gallons. During the dry season, we walk to other families further inland to get water for us.
"I feel sorry for my children as this was not the life I envisioned for them. They are still very young, and I will do my best to make sure that they will not suffer like us.
"We don't have enough money to pay for the water supply so we are hoping to get a water tank for our family. We can live without electricity, but it is difficult when it comes to the water supply because we need it in order to survive."
The family does not have a phone but if you are willing to help them out, you can reach them on +65 87547578.