Lauiva Tau dreams of a new home

Lauiva Tau from Matautu, Falealili, was cooking cocoa rice for her children, in her small kitchen which was an open shack with old corrugated iron roofing.

The kitchen shack stood on its own, separate from the main family home which was designed in a Samoan traditional style house, had corrugated iron roofing and was held up by several old tree posts. 

Rocks, which were placed on the floor to make the foundation of the family home, were visible through the traditional mats which were placed on top of the rocks to make the floor smooth. 

For the mother of five, her family has lived here for over 20 years and she can only dream of a new home, especially for her growing children. Seeing them sleeping on mats placed on a bed of rocks is always a personal challenge for her.

"As you can see the state of our house, my kids sleep on a bed of rocks covered with a mat. We cannot afford to build a proper home due to financial difficulties.

“As a mother it breaks my heart that I do not have the riches in the world to provide a better home, I don’t care about where I sleep but if I know my children are sleeping comfortably then I can sleep better at night,” she said.

The 43-year-old said the roof of their house leaks when it rains and often makes it difficult for their family to sleep.

“Another concern is security because the home was built openly with no doors, and so I always sleep with the mindset that someone might just come inside our house, and harm not only myself but my young children,” she added.

The family's lack of access to a proper water supply is another challenge for them. They often have to rely on their neighbours for water, though most of the time it has to be a long walk from the village spring with buckets of water. 

"Our family depends on neighbour’s for water supply, but the majority of the time we carry buckets to fetch water from our village’s spring, which is quite far from home.

“I am also ashamed to admit that we do not have our own toilet we have to use our neighbor’s restroom which we are very grateful for,” she told the Samoa Observer.

Mrs. Tau's husband is a farmer and fisherman and the only one in the family to generate an income for the family. 

“If we are lucky we can get a $100 for all our expenses and our priority is food supplies, church obligations and then we save some money for the children’s education."

“My daily chores include waking up early and prepare breakfast for my little ones like making tea with some crackers and noodles. I am in charge of cooking so I make sure my family has a meal even if it is not much.

“We thank God that we have food and each other as a family," she said. 

If you are willing to help Mrs. Tau and her family, please contact the numbers: 7651795 or 7298019.

Bg pattern light


Subscribe to Samoa Observer Online

Enjoy access to over a thousand articles per month, on any device as well as feature-length investigative articles.

Ready to signup?