Mother of eight shares her wish

Melefiva Talafa was in the kitchen cooking as her children played in the family's traditional Samoan-style fale.

Their home is an open plan property, with wooden posts that keep aloft a roof made from coconut leaves and old discarded corrugated iron, and a floor made of rocks that are covered by old mats to give the parents and their children a certain level of comfort.

The 29-year-old mother told the Samoa Observer that the design of their family home and the vulnerability that it places her children in continues to be a worry.

They were previously living in Matautu and moved with her husband and their children to the land where their home currently sits, which is on land that belongs to her father. 

“My family’s main struggle and concern is our home, at times I am ashamed of the current state of the home that we live in, but we cannot afford to build a proper home.

“We sleep on a bed of rocks covered with mats that I have woven; my heart aches every time I see my kids rest uncomfortably. 

“During rainy days, the roof leaks and the floor is wet and also the wind helps bring the rain inside the house,” she said.

The security of her children is another worry, she added, as they age between 1 and 7 years of age.

“I have young kids, the youngest is one years old and the oldest is seven years old and I fear that someone can just walk inside and harm them."

The lack of access to a proper water supply is another hurdle that the family has to overcome on a daily basis. But for now they are getting by, thanks to neighbours and a relative. 

“Another struggle for my family is accessibility to water, we do not have water supply, we either ask our neighbours for water or walk to one of our relative’s home further away from us near the beach road.

“It is hard to walk three times a day to fetch water but it is a matter of survival, water is a necessity and no human being can live without it," she added. 

Mrs. Talafa's husband is currently the family's only breadwinner — as a fisherman. He fishes overnight and sells his catch on the roadside, which can earn him $100. 

She said she is grateful for her husband and the sacrifice he has to make on a daily basis to go fishing, in order to make enough money to cover the family's expenses. 

“I am very grateful to my husband, he is in charge of working very hard to put food in our stomachs, he goes out on his small canoe around the evenings and comes home around 3:00 am and then sells his catches on the roadsides to get some money.

“If we are lucky he can earn close to a $100 from selling fish and sometimes we survive with $40 which is fine," she added. 

Taking care of the children has its challenges too, but Mrs. Talafa said she is up to the challenge and can even keep the children company until they end the classes. 

“I am in charge of looking after the kids by waking up early every morning to get them ready for school and I have to keep them company in school they are all young.

"Then we come home I do some chores like clean around home and surrounding area and of course cook a meal for my family,” she said.

A proper waste management system is also long overdue for the family with Mrs. Talafa revealing that they use their neighbour's toilet. 

If you are willing to help Mrs. Talafa's family, please contact the number: 7266267.

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