For 30 years, Simeone Viliamu has never had a stable water supply.
The 64-year-old father of nine, from Aleisa, fears for his children’s health because without a safe water supply, they could be exposed to various illnesses.
Mr. Viliamu explained that they ask for water from their neighbours and relatives when they need it. Speaking to the Village Voice team, he shared that the same water they use to do their washing and clean their dishes is also their drinking water.
“We have a water tank but there are three families that are using this same tank,” he said. “I live in one house while my other two children live with their families in the other Samoan houses.
“We all don’t have a water supply because we are considered to be in the highland and the road makes everything worse. I think that is the reason they still haven’t fixed the water supply yet.
“There are more than 10 families that face the same situation that I face,” said Viliamu.
Whenever it rains, it’s a blessing because they get to fill their water storage containers and anything else they can use to store water, such as a damaged fridge.
“We do that because it does not rain every time, and it saves money from being spent all the time to have our tank filled up or disturbing our neighbours if we could fill our buckets from their house.”
The road to their village is also a problem and it affects families who transport water to their homes.
“There are two people who work in our family. My other sons have given their lives to the Lord.
“I know as a father, we are called to be the leaders in our families and for our children to never starve that is the mentality that I live by. And despite my age, I will work to reassure that they are doing well.
“I am now working in a cattle farm for a lady who was looking for someone to do the job. When there is no sugar or coffee at home, I work on other people’s lands for cash to buy that for my family and children.
“I have some children who work, but it is for the welfare of their own children,” he said.
He says any parent would sacrifice and do anything for their children.
“Most of the children have grown up and have settled down and now have four or six children each.
“I have one child who has special needs and my wife has gone to assist him at school, he goes to Fiamalamalama School. She is always the one who looks after him while I work.”
“We have to work in order for us to have a better life these days. He has given us the land to work on to survive.
“I grew up in a family that is poor in Iva, Savai’i. My father was a fisherman so we relied on the sea.”