While families came together for Christmas to enjoy each other’s company, one family was not as fortunate.
For Mavaega Tauese, from the village of Faleula-Uta, she misses the days where her family came together during the holiday season to laugh and share joy as one.
Aged 55, Mavaega’s husband recently passed, her children are scattered around with one currently in prison; the distraught mother has no other choice but to accept that those happy Christmas days are gone.
Mavaega tries her best to do as much as she can for her children still living with her but there’s only so much one person can do.
“Right now, things aren’t very easy for my family,” she confessed to the Village Voice.
“It’s just my children and I living here at home, the father of the house, my husband, recently passed and we are trying to go about our lives without him.
“That’s the only struggle we are currently facing right now. I have eight children but right now, only four of them are living with me in this house.
“To be honest, as a single mother, the pressure of losing my husband is quite big but I still try my best every day.”
Mavaega explained that it’s been a year now since she has seen her child who was sent to prison.
“To add to the pressure of being a single parent, I haven’t seen one of my children for one year now,” she said.
“My child is in Tafaigata prison and it’s hard to go through this Christmas season without him. It’s supposed to be a time where our families come together but that’s not the case with mine.
“That’s what falls heavy on my mind as a mother. Not having my family together is something that haunts me at night.”
The last happy Christmas Mavaega and her family spent together was last year.
“2015 was the last year when my children and I were all together,” she said.
“It was great because we spent Christmas together and we were all happy but now it pains me because this Christmas is different.
“It’s been hard on me and it’s too much for any person to handle.”
And when the heartbroken mother looks at other families spending a joyful Christmas together, she can’t help but feel envious.
“Looking out to other families who are all together for the holiday season makes me sad,” she said.
“I am happy for them but I am envious because all I want for Christmas is for my children to all be here at home with me, I can’t help but feel envious towards them.
“I think back to when my family was happy like that and it makes me very sad. Although it’s tough, I try my best to go about my duty as a parent to my children who are here with me.
“I earn money by selling banana’s, lemons and other things I grow in my garden. I have to do this because it’s the only way we are going to get money for things that we need to do.
“That’s how my family is right now.”