Family in two-year struggle without water

It has been a struggle for over two years for a Siumu family, after they ran up a $500 tala water bill that they could not pay.

Fifty-two-year-old Fono Tauinaola, who lives with his wife and four children in a traditional Samoan fale, was working in his plantation when the Samoa Observer caught up with him to do an interview.

“Our water bill exceeded $500 which led to our family’s water supply being disconnected," he said.

"It was very hard for us to pay back the amount because there is no one employed in our family."

Mr. Tauinaola said his family is no different from others in Samoa who need water to survive. 

“At the moment we depend on one of our relatives’ water tank — but they live just a bit far from us — so we have no choice but walk to their house daily to fill up our buckets."

The family uses the water mainly to cook and do their laundry, as well as to bath with and for the toilet, he added.

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“Water has so many uses, but the priority is to quench our thirst, then we use it to cook our food, wash our clothes and dishes. We also use it to bathe and because we don’t have a modern toilet we use it to flush the toilet."

While they sometimes store water when it rains, the last few weeks have been dry and they are now desperately in need of a water tank to store water. 

“There are times when it rains and that is another way we can get our water but mind you it does not rain every day, it is always unpredictable. It would be a great help if we had a water tank to store water.”

Mr. Tauinaola said his family depends on his work in the plantation for both their income and food supplies, and he earns about $80 a week which is then earmarked for the children's education. 

“I am a farmer and I sell taro in front of our house and if we are fortunate the amount I earn is $80 a week.

“The allocation of that income is prioritised on my children’s education, I believe that if I can give them a good education then they can grow up and have a bright future.

“I don’t want them to grow up depending on others for survival and I hope that their education can give them better opportunities in life.”

But water access is not the only challenge the family faces with Mr. Tauinaola appealing for building material to enable him to finish work on their house. 

“I worry for the safety and security of my kids because at the moment our home has no windows and doors, it is made to match a Samoan traditional house so anyone can just come inside without our knowledge.”

If you are willing to help Mr. Tauinaola’s family please contact the number 7793607.

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