ORDINARY TONGAN LIVES - Kāmeli, Vava'u
Story collated and written by Haitelenisia Afemui ‘Uhila Angilau for her 'Ordinary Tongan Lives' facebook page
“I’m from Kāmeli, Vava’u. I’m the only child my parents have. My Dad works at Air Terminal Services while my Mom cooks at the hospital there. Everyday they leave at 5 or 6am and return at 6 or 8pm. Both their health are declining. I finished Form 7 last year and I don’t know how I made it through to graduation and my external exams. Anytime one of them is sick, I‘m the caregiver. If my Mom’s sick for 3 days, I miss school for 3 days. The same goes for my Dad.
It’s hard having no brother or sister because there’s no one else to help me. Everyday, I wake up and study my scriptures, say a prayer, iron our clothes, then I feed the pigs. When I return from school, I cook our dinner, clean the house, wash the dishes, or take care of our little kava plantation outside and feed the pigs again. I always break coconuts to feed the pigs. I feel this is the only time I can really help my parents.
I won’t lie, sometimes I complain to God and ask Him why I had to be an only child. I find myself wondering at times why me and why not another family with many children. Or what about another family that seems to have it easier. But then I’m reminded time and time again to be content. God has a mission for me in life, even when I can’t fully comprehend it now.
I often reflect on my Mom who is from a little island called Kapa. We go there all the time and I think you’d have to be brave to live there. Mom had to leave Kapa and study at Neiafu and her life was always back and forth by boat in all kinds of weather. That was a hard life.
Earlier today, my Dad called and said he’s taking Mom to the doctor at the pharmacy. He says he has to take out a loan to pay for it. I didn’t tell him I receive an allowance for attending Tonga Youth Parliament. But I told him to wait until I arrive tomorrow so we can all go. I saved all my allowance to take home so it’ll definitely pay for my Mom’s visit to the doctor. I feel this is my time to help however I can. You never know what might happen. If they die soon, I’ll be the only one to feed myself.”