Sitting inside my car in midafternoon sun sobbing my eyes out, a grown adult and here I am crying because PPUC is cutting off water to my house and there’s no way I can find over $1,000 to pay them off in order to stop them.

Since the pandemic started and borders closed, my husband and I have been trying to keep our house and home together for our children’s sake.  Because I can’t find anyone or afford to pay for someone to watch my kids while I work, we decided that I would stay home and take care of the kids while my husband work in the tourism business to take care of us.

When the borders closed due to the pandemic, my husband lost his source of income, and our families have helped us out but as the pandemic continues, they too are finding it difficult to survive and help us at the same time.  The strain is not only on our family but our extended family that feel obligated to help us.

WIOA was an unexpected relief but assistance took effect in mid 2020, after months of struggling, we received assistance. Also by then, our debts have piled up including our utilities.  We took care of what we can such as paying our contract with PPUC for unpaid water bills but after spreading money among all other debts, in December we were only able to pay about $500 of our water utility.  Then no payment from WIOA until now. 

I got a notice that I’ve defaulted on my contract with PPUC due to non-payment since January and unless I clear entire amount of nearly $2000 bill, my water will be cut off.  WIOA announced issuance of checks and each day when we show up, we were told to come another day.  Last day before disconnection, we went and were told to come next week for the check.  I contacted everyone I know asking for time, to delay disconnection but I am told, I’ve used up my chances and there’s no choice but to disconnect me.  I was told that this policy applies to everyone and no exception can be made for me.

My kids are coming home this afternoon, and there’s no water to cook, to wash and even to prepare for tomorrow morning for school.  I am crying not for myself but for my children.  I feel like a terrible parent but what can I do.  I am just a young Palauan woman trying with my husband to raise our kids during this difficult time.  We did not celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas because of lack of funds but we managed.  This is just one problem but after so many other setbacks, it just broke me.

We are not asking for free money or handouts, we are just asking for understanding and little help in this terrible time.    There are no jobs and lots of people are already on job waiting list.  Everyone is feeling the financial stress and all we need is just a little understanding and little time. 

I don’t know if I am the only one worrying about lack of basic things, but crying my eyes out seem to be the only option left to me.  Come and walk in my shoes for just a day and you will understand.  (contributed)

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