Health worries for mother

By Nefertiti Matatia ,

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Paotonu Ahwa shows her home.

Paotonu Ahwa shows her home. (Photo: Nefertiti Matatia)

Paōtonu Ahwa of Tanumapua is living in fear of her family’s health.

She is seeking assistance for a proper toilet to avoid any illnesses. The 25-year-old has three young children, including her newborn baby.

She said to the Village Voice team that in the 24 years living in their current residence, they have used a pit toilet. Their toilet is located from across their house and is close to her parents’ place where they usually have their meals.

Mrs. Ahwa and her sister’s family and their parents’, live in different houses on the same piece of land which they are caretakers of. 

She says there are more than 10 of them who use the same toilet, including their children.

“I live in the same property with my parents and four siblings and only my older sister’s husband and my younger sister’s husband who is a taxi driver, works. They are the ones who provide for our family.”

Mrs. Ahwa and her husband are unemployed and they live off the land for nourishment.

“We have a vegetable garden and we grow tomatoes and cucumbers that we mostly use for making our food, we barely sell them,” she said.

Mrs. Ahwa says she dreams of improving their living condition, but money is a challenge.

This is the room where her children sleep in.
This is the room where her children sleep in.

“I have a four-year-old, a two-year-old and a newborn baby. As you can see, the house that we live in is unstable. This is as far as we could go with this house; we used any pieces of wood that we could find just to make this home.

“I know that the condition of the house is not safe because the floor is not complete, just two steps from the room that we sleep in then it will be the ground, but it is a high house. The fence of the house is broken as well.

“We need tarpaulins as well just to prevent the rain from entering the house.

“My children are still young, but this is all that we could afford just to be able to have a roof over their heads.”

She explained: “We have managed to fix the leaks of the house but the roofing iron is still rusty. We placed pieces of cloths on the roof to avoid the heat when days are really sunny, but we only fix half of the house because it was the only cloths that we were able to find.”

They cannot afford a mosquito net, so they usually share with her other siblings.

“There is only one mosquito net that is used by all the three families, after using it for my baby; I take it for my sister’s baby. We just take turns with it. Even mosquito nets are expensive.

“Everything that I need is for my children’s welfare. There is nothing that I could do with the situation that my family is in. My next challenge is taking my eldest child to school in the following year.”

They have water supply, but it is usually not safe to drink for her children because of the chemicals, except for when they boil it for tea. 

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