For family-of-six, water a distant dream
A 64-year-old father from Patamea has a simple dream for his family of six.
It takes only one look at the family's home to realise that life is not easy for them.
They live in an open house with a floor covered with rocks and they have to use mats to sleep on.
But the deteriorating condition of his house is not his main concern, after years of living off the land to support his family, it is a water tank that they continue to yearn for.
In an interview with the Village Voice on Saturday, Semau Tavita said that no one living in their household is employed.
"My son-in-law is the only person away for the seasonal worker's programme, but we are yet to receive any money from him," Semau said.
"We depend mostly on the land for food and source of income. Life isn't always easy for us, but we try our best to get by."
However, the father-of-four said their main struggle is that they have never had a stable water supply.
He fears for his children’s health because, without a safe water supply, they could be exposed to various illnesses.
"The problem is, there are days where we go without water supply for two to three weeks. As you can see outside, we have buckets and gallons of water.
"When it rains we wash them and line them outside to gather and collect water because we don't have water supply every day.
"However, during the dry seasons or when it's sunny all throughout without any rainfall, we would seek help from our neighbours with water tanks and ask them for water."
Semau said they have been dreaming of having a water tank for their family.
"We have been approached by other organisations and said that they would help us out, but we never heard from them.
"We also sought help from other organisations to see if they could donate water tanks for those families who are struggling but our attempts have been unsuccessful.
"But that does not mean we are not working to achieve our goal. We have saved money and that money has gone to renovating our house. I fear that the condition of our house is no longer safe for my children.
"That's why I decided to fix our house first. But the dream is to have a water tank for our family.
"We would appreciate any help available for us and see what we can do to get a water tank for our family. It would mean so much to us if anyone would be kind enough to help us out."
Despite these struggles, Semau said there is no place he'd rather be than their home at Patamea.
"I know we don't have much," he said.
"But we have each other and that's the most important thing. God always blesses us with things to help us get through each and every day and that is something we are grateful for.
"He has never abandoned us and I know he will always provide and keep us safe.
"While people rush to Upolu hoping to find opportunities and a better life, I am happy that we live and eat freely on our own lands and not have to worry about paying bills.
"I love life in Savai'i and I will never consider having to live somewhere else."
Semau can be contacted on +685 7790259.