Father stays home, mum goes to work
It’s hard to believe, but in 2017, there are still people living without electricity in Samoa.
Tavae Faigafa, 34, of Samusu, is among them. He and his young family live inland at Samusu.
Tavae is a father of three. He used to work but he found travelling to and from his job too difficult and with very little pay, he decided to stay home.
That leaves his wife, who works at a shop in Fagali’i, as the sole bread winner for the family. Because of the distance, she spends the weekdays at Fagali’i, only coming home during the weekends.
The family said they have been at their new house for six months.
Despite not having electricity, Tavae is not fussed.
“At the moment, we can still manage,” he said.
“Light is not a problem, we still use kerosene lamps and other forms of light.
“For now, me and my wife are saving up money so we can build a better home. It’s only when we’ve finished building our home that we will consider getting electricity.
“For us, it’s about taking one step at a time, working through it step by step.”
At home, Tavae has a plantation.
He harvests the crops and sells them for their upkeep.
“It’s only a little money but it’s still a help for my family,” he said. “My responsibility is to work on our plantation and gather coconuts, then sell them to my regular customers or people who want crops.
“Also, to help out with our living costs, I sell vegetables from my plantation -- mainly cucumbers, cabbages and tomatoes
“This is my way of contributing.”
Tavae was asked why he chose to stay home and let his wife work instead.
“It’s true that men were supposed to work while women stay home to take care of the children and do basic chores, like cooking, laundry and other chores,” he said.
“However, it is not the case for me. My wife is from Faleula and this is my village, Samusu, so for that reason, I can’t let my wife stay here alone with our children because she is not familiar with our village environment.
“I believe it’s safer for her to work and come back home on weekends while I stay here and look after our children.”
The 34-year-old added that they don’t have regular access to water and they fetch it from other families.
“We fetch water every day,” he said.
“I hope to get our water connected to main water supply soon.”