While the severe cases of the measles obviously resulted in the loss of lives, the impacts on the families and communities differ. As such, the SVSG Measles Outreach considered each family on a case by case basis.
Day 11 saw the Outreach Team covering three villages of Faleasiu, Utualii and Faleatiu. The Outreach assisted a total of 18 familes comprised of 155 people of which 71 were children. Seven of these children have lost their lives from the measles including a baby from a mother 6 months into her pregnancy.
At Faleasiu, an elderly grandmother Gina Penoa took the loss of her 11 month old grand daughter really hard, resulting in her minor stroke. According to Gina, “It is one thing to suddenly lose a child, but to have her taken to her mother’s family for burial is too much for me to bear; there is not even a grave of her so it was like she was never here with us.” Toeaso Penoa, who is the father of Baby Margaret is Gina’s son, but the couple decided to take their daughter to be buried at Tamalii’s family at Afega. Tamalii is Baby Margaret’s mother. The extended family of Gina is providing that much needed support for her, not only as she grieved the loss of Baby Margaret, but also as she now needs a carer due to her health condition.
23 year old Suvania Lauesi of Faleatiu suffered the double impact of the measles; She was infected while 6 months into her pregnancy, and while she was fortunately enough to recover, she however had to undertake a caeseran delivery of her still born child who could not survive the measles.
Suvania is trying to remain stronger for her three surviving children Lauesi, Aukuso, and BJ, who are still weak from being infected with the measles. The look on the grieving mother and children’s faces tell the story of loss and fatigue from the whole situation.
For most of these families, they only have the memories of their children, taken too soon, to hold on to.
The dreams of what they might have become if they have lived to survive the wrath of this deadly virus, is nothing but a dream now.
And as we celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ who symbolizes love, light, hope and peace, let us remain joyful and faithful for He will always sees us through.
“I wish all of SVSG Village Representatives and their families a joyous festive season. Thank you for being our proud ambassadors in village communities throughout this year, especially during the Measles Outreach.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President
“Thank you to our family of supporters that continued to come forward to assist us in reaching our people in this time of need. Thank you Aumua Ming & Tofilau Fiti Leung Wai of SSAB for the monetary donation of $300 and in kind valued at $200.00; Jim and Mindy Wiese Missionaries of Samoa for joining the door to door Outreach, sharing balloons and jandals that have brightened up the faces of the little ones during this festive season.” Siliniu Lina Chang
Wishing our families and friends, donor partners and development agencies a merry Christmas and a most prosperous new year.