Mother shares the struggles of living in a bad home

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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LIFE STRUGGLES: Lakena Ng Lam and her son in their house.

LIFE STRUGGLES: Lakena Ng Lam and her son in their house.

Meet Lakena Ng Lam. The mother of two, from Falelauniu, lives in a rundown house.

Having only one person who works is one of their biggest struggles. 

When Tropical Cyclone Gita hit Samoa, they had no choice but to squeeze in a small corner of their house with her children to avoid getting wet.

She added even though they have iron roofing and tarpaulins, they still got wet.

“During the cyclone, our house inside was so wet, it was like there was no roof. My children had to stay in one corner of the house because it was the only safe spot.”

“The iron roofing has rusted which is why the house leaks heavily during rainy days, but the day when the cyclone came, the water entering our home was like  tap water,” said the 40-year-old.

Mrs. Ng Lam’s biggest concern are her children because they are still young, the eldest is in the first grade while the other is a toddler.

For her as a parent, having her children live in an unsafe house and a water seal toilet that requires them to fetch buckets of water is a worry. 

She explained: “Since we were looking for an area that we would be able to grow our crops, my husband found someone who was searching for a couple to live in his property and look after it. He does not live here, he stays in America; he visits every now and then.”

They have been living there for five months after relocating from Vailoa.

“The timber that has been used to make the house is starting to wear out as well. This house looks like it was constructed a long time ago.” 

“I always nag to my husband to fix up the house already because I am tired of drying up the house every time it rains, but he always turns back and asks me ‘with what money, we don’t have any money to fix the house’.”

Mrs. Ng Lam says they cannot use the room in their house because it has no floor.

“We really want to use the room because it is warmer than the front, especially at night. I feel for my children, my eldest son he always complains about how cold it is.”

Their problems do not end there.

Talking to the Village Voice team, she said the kitchen that they have is right behind the room and in terms of food security, they need proper shelves to place their groceries and utensils. 

Her husband works and his income is not enough because they normally have to make payments to people they owe.

“Luckily we have pawpaw and bananas that we are able to sell to earn some extra money. There is no car to transport our crops to sell, which is another challenge we face with selling our crops.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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