Mother-of-five dreams of shelter from the storm

As the heavens opened in parts of Upolu bringing heavy rain on Saturday afternoon, a mother and her five children tried to find comfort and warmth.

They retreated into traditionally woven mats placed over a pile of rocks that forms the foundation of their home.

The children and their two parents live on the south coast of Upolu Island about 30 kilometers from Apia through the Cross Island Road.

With only a lantern visible against the looming nightfall – Fina Kuana told the Samoa Observer that their home doesn’t have access to electricity before darkness engulfed the house. 

A broken tarpaulin is hung from the roof - itself made of old corrugated iron - acts as a barrier between the family of seven and the elements. 

Otherwise, the house, held up by old wooden posts and which stands in the middle of a banana plantation, does not have walls.

Mrs. Kuana told the Samoa Observer that they had just moved into the area. 

“It has been close to three months now,” she said.

The 32-year-old mother added that while they have water supply they have no shortage of other challenges. 

“During rainy days our water would be disconnected for days and that would mean our family would fetch water elsewhere," she said. 

“However, our main concern is our home; I worry for the children because the floor of our home is made up of rocks and soil.

“My husband is the only one employed but his income would only cover our urgent needs such as food supplies and the children’s needs.”

Three of their children are in primary school while their mother stays home to look after the younger two. 

She then pointed to the broken tarpaulin and lamented how a large gaping hole exposes her family.

“Because we live in an open home with no doors, windows or walls we need tarpaulins but only some parts of our home have holes on it,” she said.

“We want to provide our children with a better home to live in and so they can sleep on a comfortable bed instead but there is just not enough money to allocate to building materials.

“With the children’s fees, sometimes we can only afford to pay one or quarters while the rest of the year is not possible that leads to the children not getting any reports.”

She also said that the family does not have access to a proper toilet facility but has resorted to building a makeshift facility outside their home.

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Kuana please contact the number: 7385964.

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