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Fagaloa women act to help the village long standing road miseries

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA – 17 JULY 2023: The women of Uafato village, one of the remotest in the Fagaloa Bay have bought cement to help fix some of the worst affected parts of the main road to the picturesque village.

The village Government woman representative Sui Tamaitai, Fa’alelei Molimau told Talamua that they have used their annual development fund of $2700 from the Ministry for Women & Social Development to buy bags of cement to fix the worst affected areas of the road.

“So we used the money to buy cement to start the work,” said Faalelei.

Uafato is the furthest east of the Fagaloa district and the Member of Parliament Mau’u Siaosi Pu’epu’emai had consistently been seeking government help to improve the constituency’s roads in his speeches in parliament.

“I acknowledge the Womens’ committee for their initiative but this is the responsibility of the Government and I can only keep on appealing and knocking at their door for help,” said Mau’u.

“Unlike other districts which has access roads that lead to other parts of the districts, Fagaloa does not but have only one which is the main road,” said Mau’u.

Fagaloa komiti
Fagaloa komiti

The Uafato village Government woman representative – Fa’alelei Molimau with bags of cement bought with their annual development fund to help repair worst parts of the road to the village.

As Talamua approached Uafato village last week, they met with a dyna truck being pushed up-hill by the villagers and it kept skidding sideways due to the loose gravel on the unpaved road surface.

One of the residents who helped push the truck was the Village Mayor, Vaisa Vineta Tuimalatu Tasimeavao.

“It is good that you are here to witness what is a daily routine for us that justifies our MPs continuous appeal in Parliament for assistance,” said Vaisa.

He said the road issue is not new and previous MPs had pleaded with previous Governments but their appeals have fallen on deaf ears.

But things improved recently where a dangerous bend in the road had been tar sealed after a bus crashed on the mountain side and killed the bus driver three months ago.

He said pushing cars uphill is a daily routine for the people of Uafato.

“If we leave for Apia at 4.00am we would arrive in town at around 9.00am because we wasted an hour or more pushing cars,” he said.

Vaisa also pointed to the ford at the entrance to Uafato village that has huge holes in the cement floor that pose serious danger to vehicles.

The village have elders help direct passing vehicles to make sure that they do not fall into the deep gaps that are covered by the running stream in the ford.

“We have someone beside the ford to guide the drivers to avoid the vehicles from falling into the river,” said Mau’u.

Fagaloa ford
Fagaloa ford

Directing traffic at the damaged ford heading into Uafato village.

Seawalls – a must for Fagaloa
The other issue Vaisa and Mau’u emphasized the need for construction as part of the districts defence against sea level rising is the construction of seawalls to protect the villages.

“We are not safe and as you can see the sea comes right up into the land,” said Vaisa.

Most of the residents of Uafato and other villages in the district have abandoned their houses by the coastal side and moved inland.

Fagaloa is one of the most beautiful places in Samoa and a host to the country’s unique biodiversity.

Fagaloa seawall
Fagaloa seawall

The Fagaloa district Member of Parliament, Mau’u Siaosi Pu’epu’emai pointing to areas overtaken by the sea.

Minister and LTA inspect the Fagaloa roads
The Minister of Works, Olo Afoa Fiti Vaai and the CEO of the Land Transport Authority inspected the roads at the Fagaloa Bay last weekend.

They inspected the road at remote Uafato village as well as Salimu and Saletele, and the impact of sea level rise in some of the other remote villages in the Fagaloa Bay.

Fagaloa view
Fagaloa view

The picturesque Fagaloa Bay but road access has been a persistent challenge over the years.