The resilience of our surviving children highlighted Day 13 of the SVSG Measles Outreach, as the Team visited 10 families from the 7 villages of Vaovai, Salani, Sataoa, Pesega, Sinamoga, Tanugamanono and Sogi.
While eight (8) children from these families have been lost to the measles; 40 more surviving children curiously greeted the Outreach Team; some with a stare, a smile, a hug while a few others looked beyond us as if they were in a daze.
This is the resilience of children; something that should be nurtured as we take stock of the mental effect of the measles on our people. The surviving children should be observed for their ability to bounce back from the trauma surrounding the loss of their siblings to the measles.
The Psychosocial support volunteers observed that while the younger children were drawn to the colorful balloons, the grown ones hesitated at first, but eventually came around to collect their pair of shoes kindly donated by missionaries Jim and Mindy Wiese from Missouri.
The grieving parents were encouraged to see things through their children’s eyes; to be more adaptable and braver.
According to Fipe Fao of Sataoa, “Despite the pain of losing our 12 year old son Foalima, all so sudden, I have to be strong for my surviving children.”
There is no doubt that Fipe’s courage is shared by all the parents who have lost children to the measles; and with time, it should help heal the pain.
SVSG’s Outreach reassured the grieving families that they are not alone. A needs assessment identified further support to be followed suit. Basic food and toiletries were provided while information on healthy living and eating from what is available around their backyard, were shared.
SVSG therefore acknowledged the support from our families and friends, whose financial and in kind assistance enabled us to reach 115 affected families who have lost 55 of their loved ones to the measles.
“Thank you to PastorLene Molia and the congregation of the Au Uso Kerisiano Ranui Church of New Zealand for donating NZD1,000 / ST1,661.00 towards the Measles Outreach. Thank you also to the Ashburton Community in Canterbury New Zealand for the fundraising BBQ and baking sale which collected NZD1,000 you have donated via the Givealittle for those affected by the measles. Sending our families Alofa from the Ashburton Community.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President