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Clean Water for Samoa

Providing Families with Safe, Clean Drinking Water

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Water Tanks for Samoa

Clean water and sanitation: the keys to breaking free from poverty Access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation are vital for health, especially among children.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many serious consequences:

  • Children die from preventable illnesses like diarrhea
  • Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities
  • Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water
  • Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness
  • Health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer.

It’s impossible to break the vicious cycle of poverty – and enable sustainable development – without first addressing these issues.

The global water and sanitation situation 800 million people still live without safe drinking water.

What’s more, almost two-fifths of the world’s people lack access to sanitation. This means they live in unclean environments where there isn’t a proper waste disposal system in place – and disease is able to spread easily.

Village Voice Stories

Read some of the stories of struggling families who are in dire need of water tanks around Samoa. Thank you Adel from Samoa Observer for providing us with these families and their stories.

The Family of Fefiloi Tivoli

Life for Fefiloi Tivoli’s family has not been the same after her husband passed away.

The family-of-three huddles together under a thatched roof surviving in spite of the absence of electricity, water supply and a loof that often leaks.

When the Samoa Observer visited, the 50-year-old was weaving coconut leaves with her daughter to help thatch their leaking roof on a rainy Saturday morning. 

The mother-of-two said that after the death of her husband earlier this year, she decided to move away from her husband’s family.

“We moved here around February of this year,” she said.

Ms. Tivoli added that when they relocated to the current residence, they did not have much.

“The materials we used to build our house from gathered from around our land resources, the tree trunks and coconut leaves for a roof,” she said.

She said that she lives with her son and daughter in their small shack:

“My main concern is our home; it is not in good condition because of the lack of materials.

“Our family depends on the sea for survival, my son goes fishing three times, if we are lucky he gets $50 a week but if not we get $20.

“I am in charge of planting taro and hoping to develop my vegetable garden but there is also a lack of materials.”

The elderly mother also said that some of the money they earn pays for her daughter’s food at school.

“I want my daughter to have a better future that’s why I push her to pursue a career after graduating, she walks to school each day,” she said.

“And because we just recently moved, we do not have water or electricity supply.

“Every day, we fetch buckets of water from a far distant because it is a necessity we need water for everything. At the moment we do not have a proper toilet but we just started with building one with the resources we have.”

She also added that during night times they use the torch from their mobile phones to sleep at night.

“We use a neighbour’s power to charge our phone because we do not have electricity.

 

“My home is located near the road that’s why I wish there was a fence because you never know a car might drive straight to our home when speeding.

“The very idea scares me sometimes at night, who knows what could happen.

“It has never been the same after my husband passed away, he was our strength but when he passed away we had to move away from his family, I admit it just did not feel the same way living there.”

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Tivoli please contact the number: 7716389.

The Family of Seikali Tufa

Photo: Samoa Observer.

Water is life to any family. But a mother-of-five from Siumu says her family often struggles to access clean water.

Seikali Tufa has lived with her husband and children for more than five years in a traditionally-built Samoan home with a foundation made of a bed of rocks covered; mats as a floor; and a roof covered with coconut leaves.

The 47-year-old was cooking fish with coconut cream when the Village Voice team came across her.

“For years, our family had a struggled with water problems. We have never had water access since we have moved here and it is a hassle every day,” she said.

She said that despite their family being gifted with a water tank, they still face struggles.

“It takes up to a week for our water tank to be full but the real struggle is when there is no rain,” she said. 

“Our family has no choice but seek water elsewhere from those that have water and in terms of showering we have to walk with the children for an hour to reach a village spring to do laundry and bathe the children.

“For any family, water is life meaning without it, we cannot survive. It is because water is used for so many things like cooking, washing dishes and clothes, quenching our thirst, bathing.”

Mrs. Tufa said that they also face challenges with the current situation of their house.

“The home we have is not stable because it was built all that we had which is why the roof leaks during rainy days and there is not enough tarpaulins to stop the rain from coming inside the house,” she said. 

“At times we are ashamed when guests arrive because our toilet is not a modern version, it is an old style where it does not flush instead we have to pour water in it.

“There is no one employed in our family because we depend on our plantation for survival and we also sell some of taro and bananas to earn some money.”

She also said that her eldest daughter wants to be a doctor in the future but they cannot afford to send her to university.

“It breaks my heart that my children want to pursue higher education like university but we cannot afford to send them to university because the fees are too expensive,” she said. 

“My eldest daughter who is taking science subjects at Palalaua College in Year 13 talked to me and my husband that she dreams to be a future doctor.

“But I know that we have no financial support for her, yet my daughter is very bright but if she reaches university, we cannot afford to pay her school fees then have no choice but to look for employment.

“A lot of youths cannot continue their studies because for those that come from families of farmers who depend on plantations for survival, they face financial difficulties.”

If you are willing to help the family of Mrs. Tufa please contact the numbers: 7209554, 7236410

The Family of Sina Lagafuaina

While others drift off to sleep on a soft bed, Sina Lagafuaina’s family of four can only dream of doing the same.

Mrs. Lagafuaina was doing her daily chores when the Village Voice team visited her house.

The home of Mrs. Lagafuaina is situated on the North West coast of the island of Upolu, over 44 kilometres from Apia via the Main West Coast Road.

The mother-of-two has lived for more than a year with her husband and children in their small house built with a thatched roof.

The family’s home can only be accessed through a dirt road which goes inland and is located away from the main road surrounded by a plantation.

“My family’s main concern is our living conditions,” she said.

She added that her worries are for the welfare of her children because the family sleeps on hard surfaces where insects can crawl on the mats when they are sleeping.

“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.”

The 26-year-old stated that another burden is that the roof of their home leaks during rainy days and it 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.”

The family of Mrs. Lagafuaina does not have access to water.
“We fetch buckets of water from neighbours because we have never had access to water – our family depends on neighbour’s for water supply,” she said.

“I am also ashamed to admit that we do not have our own toilet we have to use our neighbour’s restroom which we is also used by more than two other families.

Her husband is the breadwinner of the family and he earns around a $100 a week to cater for their needs.

“The money we receive is mostly allocated for food supplies and church obligations.

“My daily chores include waking up early to 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.”

If you are willing to help the family of Mrs. Lagafuaina please contact the number: 7245907.

The Family of Fealofani Toma

It has been two years since a 29-year-old man and his wife decided to leave the comfort of living with their extended family to realise their dream of starting a new life together.

Thoughts about the risk of starting a family while relying on a small income generated from carpentry work as well as fishing to build the foundation of their new home weighed heavily on the minds of Fealofani Toma and his wife Naomi.

Two years since setting out to take their own path, the couple lives in a small house built in traditional Samoan style with a coconut leaf-thatched roof and old corrugated iron. It is a testament to how far the couple’s plans have fared despite challenges such as a lack of access to electricity and water.

But Mrs. Toma suddenly becoming afflicted by illness has proven to be their biggest challenge – one which threatens to upend the couple’s ambitions.

Located on the northwest coast of Upolu, over 44 kilometres from Apia, access to Mr. Toma’s house is via a dirt road that turns inland and is surrounded by a plantation.

The couple cannot access some of the basic necessities such as water and electricity supply and have to rely on the generosity of relatives living nearby.

“We use water and electricity from our relative’s home nearby because we do not have a stable home,” Mr. Toma said in an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“One of the advantages of living a poor life is that you budget everything from resources to money, especially saving various things.”

His wife previously worked for the national airline Samoa Airways but is no longer employed.

All had been well for the couple in their new home, until Mrs. Toma suddenly fell ill, forcing her husband to shift his focus.

“I sell cocoa for $7 per cup, do hard labour at a carpentry work from time to time, or go fishing but there are times we do not have any money at all,” he said.

“I love my wife and that is the reason behind all my hard work.

“I want to care for her needs especially because she is unwell.

“When she has medication she needs to eat so that’s why I try to ensure there is some money but sadly the last time we got her pills was in November last year, it depends on our financial situation.

“We pay to use someone’s car to go to the hospital at Leulumoega and if there is a shortage of medication there we have to go to the main hospital.”

Mr. Toma says he is keen to push ahead despite life’s mounting challenges and will not tire while saying that he is thankful for the support from his family abroad.

“I was fortunate that my overseas relative had offered help but I understand that everyone has their own responsibilities so they have faced some problems and I feel bad for them,” he said.

If you are willing to help Mr. Toma’s family, he can be contacted on: 7375313.

The Family of Nu'u Felise

For the Nu’u family-of-four, the simple life on the big island has many attractions but also a major challenge that presents itself again every day: striving just to access clean water. 

The head of the family, Nu’u Felise, was busy washing empty plastic containers that his family uses to store rainwater when the Samoa Observer visited them on Saturday.

He said three years ago his family from Faletagaloa moved further inland closer to their plantations, which made it difficult for them to have access to the water supply system.

“The first year since we moved here was very difficult for our small family,” Mr. Felise told the Samoa Observer. “But we are blessed for the love of families and friends who have been helping us from the beginning.

“We enjoy staying here, but it’s just that we don’t always get water supply most of the time, so we use empty gallons to store water during the rainy season.

“As you can see, I am trying to wash the empty gallons, now that it’s raining so we can store rainwater.”

But their access to water is not consistent and times can get tough for the family, those difficulties were not lost on Mr Felise.

“Things can be complicated when we don’t have enough water stored, and the water supply gets disconnected because we live far from the main road and where the rest of the village lives, we struggle to get water.”

And when the family doesn’t have options, Mr. Felise said they depend on relatives living closer to the main road and the sea who live further from where they are.

Ultimately, the family would love to have a water tank as a long-term solution to their water woes, with Mr. Felise indicating that they are trying to save enough money to buy one.

“The aim is to save enough money for a water tank so we no longer have to look elsewhere and fetch water from our other families when the water supply does not reach our home and house.”

Despite the lack of water supply to the family’s residence, the 56-year-old man said there is no place like Samoa. 

“I would not trade this for anything else. Life in Samoa is simple and I enjoy the simple things that are available in our country.

“We are blessed with lands we use, freely. We don’t have to pay for rent and God gave and blessed us with so many things and in so many ways. 

“We can get food from the land and sea – you can never starve in Samoa because we are like one big family.

“We help one another and we willingly share everything with those in need, that’s why Samoa, in my opinion, is the best place to be.”

Asked for his opinion on the cost of living in Samoa and its impact on his family, Mr. Felise said: “It’s natural for people to complain about how expensive these days are compared to the cost of goods back then.

“But I am a strong believer that you struggle when you don’t work, your future and the future of your family are in your hands. 

“You cannot complain about the cost of living and still sit around and do nothing.”

Anyone interested in assisting the family can contact the number 7771437.

The Family of Ekueta Savea

 

The heavy rain during the past few days has caused nothing but distress to a family of seventeen living under a leaking roof.

Ekueta Savea is a mother of eight and together with her husband they are living with nieces and in-laws on the southwest coast of Upolu Island.

Their small house is made of old corrugated iron roofing and walls held together by wooden posts. It is situated away from the main road and cannot be accessed by any vehicles.

Ms. Savea told the Village Voice team that while the family faces daily problems with their home, they are in need of financial support to help with school fees for their children.

“We have five children in school with two nieces, we are also looking after them attending school,” she said.

The 48-year-old added that there is no one employed in their family but all depend on their plantation for survival.

“Some of the children currently attending school, their school fees have not been paid, it pains me to admit but it is a struggle that we are trying to endure.

“We do not have a lot. We sell talo to earn a living but sometimes we have no luck and no one buys our taro which is a worry.

“Our family also collects nonu fruits and sells it to trucks that come around to collect it.”

The mother-of-eight also shared that with any money they earn, they have to mostly spend it for the children in terms of transportation fees and lunch money.

“If the children can get $2.00 each to buy something to eat at school that is all we can afford.”

With the bad weather conditions recently experienced by the country, the family of Ms. Savea has been trying their best to block their leaking roof.

“We cannot control the weather, the rain can be a blessing as a source of water but it can also bring hardships.

“Despite us having water supply, recently we have had dirty water, I think it’s because of the rain or flooding.

“We also have electricity but it is from the generous help of one of our neighbours.”

If you are willing to help the family of Ms. Savea please contact the numbers: 7282821 or 7374808.

The Family of Mikaele Nonumalo (Fufilled)

Photo credit: Samoa Observer.

 

UPDATE: This water tank has been Donated on behalf of,
Almira Mataele
Lauia Lamositele
Jasenta Tokio
Jazmine Scanlan
Mapuana Reed Photography
Daniel Fauoo
Kalani Faagata
Chrissy Lang
Amy Issenmann
Lash fix beauty bar

A 48-year-old man was collecting firewood for the kitchen on Saturday and the day was just like any other, though he has had a lot on his mind lately.

Mikaele Nonumalo is the father of four children and together with his wife are living the simplest of lives on the southwest coast of Upolu Island.

Their small house is a mash of old corrugated iron roofing and walls held together by wooden posts and reinforced with old canvas, to protect them from the fury of extreme weather.

Basic amenities such as water and electricity are lacking with Mr Nonumalo indicating that they rely on their relatives.

“We do not have any water supply, we fetch buckets of water from neighbouring relatives, and if it rains we use a bucket to store water and use it for our basic needs,” he said in an interview. “And we also do not have our own toilet; we all use the neighbours facility.

“I admit we do not have enough but we are trying our best to get by every day.”

Another shed next to their house is the kitchen where all the family’s meals are cooked.

But right now he is thankful for his plantation and vegetable garden, but he knows that the harvest is still a long way off, as he ponders how he will pay his daughter’s school fees.

“I am a strong believer that education is the key to success,” added Mr. Nonumalo. “If my daughter finishes school and ends up successful, she can help our family lessen some of the financial burdens, we may not have much but we are grateful for what we have.

“We must always thank God for all his blessings because we are alive, thanks for the gift of life.”

Mr. Nonumalo and his family recently moved from Savai’i and have settled on land belonging to his mother’s family.

“Every night, I pray for God’s help especially since my daughter will be attending Year 12 this year, but we do not have enough money to pay for her school fees.

“I was hoping that my vegetable garden would bear fruits before school starts, but it’s a bit slow because I do not have enough resources.”

Nevertheless a 30-minute walk to the family plantation further inland and away from their home, has become a daily chore for Mr. Nonumalo.

“I am determined to develop my vegetable garden because I know it’s good money but I have limited resources,” he added. “We have a taro plantation but that will take so many months before we harvest which is not ideal for survival.”

And while the struggling father has a son, who is currently working in Savai’i, the loss of another son continues to haunt him.

Nevertheless, his other son returns home every fortnight with financial assistance for the family

“My son is the only one employed in Savai’i, but he comes every two or three weeks with money.

“I also lost one of my sons to an accident out in the sea when he went fishing.”

The family also contributes to the church tithing, besides budgeting for a bag of rice, cooking oil and flour.

If you are willing to help the family of Mr. Nonumalo, please contact the number: 7513667.

The Family of Claire Pati (Fufilled)

 

UPDATE: This water tank has been Donated on behalf of,
Faithful & Fit Ministry
Natalia Woo Ching Melbourne Australia & Team

 

A family of nine is praying that their modest family home made of cardboard, wood and corrugated iron will last through this year’s cyclone season.

Access to building supplies is not necessarily a problem for the Pati family.

But access to sturdy material that can withstand the elements is; the family relies on discarded materials.

The family’s mother, Claire Pati, told the Village Voice that their family home is located away from the main road and can only be accessed via a dirt inland road.

The mother-of -five spoke to the Samoa Observer about their daily struggle to eke out a living.

“My fear is the event of a cyclone may affect Samoa and we might lose our only home,” she said.

Ms. Pati also said although her husband is employed their family still face significant financial difficulties.

“I truly appreciate my husband for working so hard to provide for us every week while I stay home and look after the children,” she said.

“Life is not easy but I guess we have to be grateful for everything we have.

“At the moment we face many problems with our living conditions, it breaks my heart every time it rains because the roof leaks and the structure is unstable.

“But we try our best to get through any storm because that’s what families are for; they are there when you are happy or sad and when you are struggling.”

She also said that a lack of access to water was another daily struggle faced by the family.

“We fetch water from other families that have access to [supply],” she said.

“It is a struggle but we are thankful that they are kind to us.

“I can only dream of a new home for my children but we have to face reality daily; we survive with what we have.

“Another struggle we face is that we do not have proper bathing and toilet facilities.

“My brother and his child are also living in a small home connected to our house, and despite the large number [of people] we all help each other with everything.”

Ms. Pati said that all of her five children attend school.

If you are willing to help Ms. Pati’s family, please contact the number: 7298013.

The Family of Daniel Asalemo (Fufilled)

UPDATE: This water tank has been Donated on behalf of Maranatha SDA Church Amerika Samoa.

 

The Asalemo family lives by the light of an electric lantern hanging on their ceiling but the family’s hopes for a better future are undimmed.

The family-of-six share a small, open-style house and face obstacles to daily living including the absence of electricity and water supplies but say they remain optimistic in the face of challenges.

In their small open shack with iron roofing and a dirt floor, the Asalemo family lives not far from the main road.

The family of Daniel Asalemo recently moved to the current property, which can be accessed via the Main East Coast Road and is more than 23 kilometres from Apia.

The family has only one bed which they use to sleep together and rely on the glow of a charged portable light hanging from the ceiling when the evening comes.

The father-of-four told the Village Voice team that it has not yet been a month since their family moved, which explains some of the family’s difficulties.

“It has only been a few weeks since my family started setting up here,” he said.

On Saturday, the 31-year-old was collecting wood to build a small outdoor kitchen to cook the family’s food.

He also mentioned that he just finished building a small toilet but does not yet have access to shower facilities.

“One of our main struggles is the inaccessibility to water supply; we fill up two 20 litres bottles of water from those that have access to water,” he said.

“However, because [this area is covered by] an independent water scheme source, most of the time during rainy days the supply of water is usually dirty, hence why we always boil the water for the children’s sake.

“And also, sometimes the supply of water is disconnected during the day while it is connected only around night time which is another burden [when] we have to shower the children as well.”

Mr. Asalemo said the family greatly-needed storage facilities which would allow them to keep water for everyday use.

Another concern raised by the family is their vulnerable living conditions.

He said that tarpaulins and a cement floor are among the family’s other needs.

“During rainy days we struggle with trying to stop the rain from getting inside and we end up all getting wet,” he said.

“Despite facing so many obstacles, we remain positive and always hopeful that we can overcome them, that’s why I try to collect whatever I can to build our home.”

If you are willing to help the family of Mr. Asalemo please contact the number: 7777067.

The Family of Iosefa Taua (Fufilled)

 

UPDATE: This water tank was donated on behalf of,
VITORIA Real Estate & Financial Services

 

It is for the love of family which pushes Iosefa Taua to leave home at 6pm to go fishing and return 5am the next day, for six days a week.

That is the reality of life for the 38-year-old, who has no formal employment and lives with his family on the east coast of Upolu, more than 54 kilometres from Apia through the main East Coast Road.

Mr Taua has three children and together with his wife live in a traditional Samoan-designed house, which is located close to the main road and is surrounded by the family’s plantation.

Their home, as basic as it looks, does not have access to running water as well as electricity.

As bad weather continues on Upolu, the Samoa Observer on Saturday morning sighted a tarpaulin that the father pulled across their house, in order to protect his family from the pounding wind and the heavy rain.

He had just returned home after fetching buckets of water when the Samoa Observer walked up to his family’s house.

“Our family faces so many challenges but we are trying our best to survive each day,” he said in an interview.

“I’m a fisherman. I go out fishing six days a week because I sell my catch to earn some form of income for our daily expenses.

“I admit it is not easy to go out fishing from 6pm and come home the next day around 5am.

“But I will still continue to do so, it is the love I have for my family that drives me to keep going and never giving up.”

As his family’s sole breadwinner, he is also responsible for his two children attending and being in school, though the approaching cyclone season is also a worry.

“We have a plantation that we also depend on for food but in terms of income it takes months until we can reap the fruits of our labour.

“My main concern while our country prepares to head into the cyclone season is our current living condition.”

The family home is not likely to stand the brunt of gale-force winds, if the weather deteriorates during the cyclone season, as the house roof is made of coconut leaves.

“We recently moved to our new home, it’s been three months now, and because we do not have a lot of money, the materials we used to build our home were collected from our surroundings,” he revealed.

“My fear is for the safety of my family, because lately we have been experiencing bad weather conditions but our roof leaks and sometimes the coconut leaf roof gets blown off.

“We also do not have a proper shower or toilet facility but we have tried building something in the meantime.”

If you are willing to help the family of Mr. Taua, please contact the number: 7639450.

The Family of Pili Mamea (Fufilled)

Photo: Samoa Observer.

UPDATE: This water tank has been Donated on behalf of,
Almira Mataele
Lauia Lamositele
Jasenta Tokio
Jazmine Scanlan
Mapuana Reed Photography
Daniel Fauoo
Kalani Faagata
Chrissy Lang
Amy Issenmann
Lash fix beauty bar

Accessing water is an everyday struggle for the Pili family in Savai’i, but the family-of-five refuses to let the challenge mar the many blessings of the simple life.

For Pili and Tausaga Mamea and their three children, life’s challenges include limited access to water but they are thankful for their blessings.

“We are appreciative of God’s blessings upon our family,” Pili told the Samoa Observer.

“We understand that the going gets tough sometimes, but such is life, we have good and bad days.

“However, the main problem we continue to face as a family is the limited water supply.”

Though there are some days when continuous rain enables them to store and collect water.

“We enjoy the rainy days as we get to store and collect water using buckets and empty gallons,” added Mr Mamea.

“But when it comes to the dry season, then we have to make the trip further inland to our other family to get water for our daily needs.

“We have been praying and waiting for the water supply to reach our family, but up to now, there is no luck.”

Outside of the family’s house, one can see a few buckets that the family uses to store rainwater.

Mr Mamea says they need water in order to survive including to bathe, eat and drink.

“As you know, we all need water in order to survive, we need it for food, drinking, showers, and [other things],” he said.

“So it’s very difficult during sunny days, we have a family further inland and that’s where we go to get water, my son and I would go there to collect water for our family.

“Sometimes, we make a trip twice a day to our other house and family living near the road.”

But that is not the only challenge the family faces as their increased water consumption can also translate to a rise in the water bill.

“Another problem with that is, the water bill for our family goes up as we keep collecting water from them.

“We have made a request to the Mormon Church in the other village nearby for a water tank, but we still have not heard back from them.

“Life would be so much easier for us if we owned a water tank.”

At the end of the day, the family says it is still happy despite their numerous day-to-day challenges and are thankful for the generosity shown to them by various people.

“We enjoy life in Samoa,” said Mr. Mamea.

“We can’t imagine living elsewhere and here in Samoa, we live on our own lands and get to do whatever we want on our land.

“You will never starve if you live in Samoa. The other beauty of life in Samoa is the love of our people.

“Even if we are not related by blood, people will still welcome you in their homes with open arms and serve you with the best they have.

“That’s why I say that you can never starve in Samoa, also we get our blessings from serving our elders and serving God.

“And that’s the foundation of the life that I build with my family, we may be poor, but we strive and do our best to serve our elders and serve God.

“We have a plantation and I am also a carpenter, we are so blessed and we are thankful.”

Anyone interested in helping the Pili family access a water tank can make contact with them on 7641723.

Donate Toward a Water Tank

There are many more families in need of clean drinking water, and you can help dontate towards providing ao relief to these families as we have in the past. Included below are the recipts of previous water tanks we have purchased so you can get an idea of the costs involved and a donation form so you have help!

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