Weary residents take action on potholes
Watching a road in his neighbourhood deteriorate while waiting for the authorities to fix it, prompted one Falelauniu-Uta resident to take matters into his own hands.
Tofilau Toia Henry is a local businessman and resident of Falelauniu-Uta who felt that helping with infrastructure would boost the sense of local community.
"Our village roads have been severely damaged by previous heavy rainfall, and it continues to deteriorate day by day making transport difficult and unsafe for our vehicles and the vehicles belonging to other members of the public, who visit and drive by our area on a daily basis," he said.
"It has been too long since we Falelauniu Uta residents still wait on maintenance for our roads, and we don't know how long we are going to wait.
"It has become very frustrating and disappointing for us and members of the public who use this road to get to Aleisa."
Together with his friend and neighbour, Peni Chan Sau, Tofilau sprung into action.
"I then decided on my own free will to fill these massive car wrecking potholes with a mixture of cemented sand and gravel.
"Myself and five of my workers with the assistance of my good friend and neighbour [Peni] and one of his workers managed to cover at least 200 meters [in one day] with more than 30 potholes.”
He said the drive had become unbearable for village residents and it wasn't a safe drive, so he had to do something. Even if it meant paying for it himself.
“[It cost] a bit over five hundred tala, but it is not about money. It's about working together as a community and doing what we feel in our hearts is the right thing to do. As I said before, the roads were getting worse every day, almost to the extent that it cannot be accessed anymore so I'm not going to wait until we have our turn to get our roads fixed, because I use this road everyday and trust me it is not a comfortable ride driving through Falelauniu Uta.
Tofilau said he was aware of a letter signed by Falelauniu Uta residents which was submitted to the Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure last year. The response, he said, was that the road construction was in the pipeline.
"So hopefully sometime this year."
He said he wasn't trying to complain, but only trying to say working together and helping each other can build strong relationships within communities:
”I know some people will jump to conclusions and put the blame on our M.P. [Member of Parliament] but for me personally I think it is wrong to blame our M.P. because the least our MP could do is submit a request through to M.W.T.I. as he has, several times before our last request.
"But I also know that every request goes through a process and our request is just one of the many requests that also await their turn. So there is no one to blame, but to hope that our turn is sooner than we expect.”