Day 4 of the SVSG Measles Prevention & Helping Hand Outreach found the family of the first child whose life was claimed by the measles epidemic, still in a mourning state. The parents of 8 months old Hope Talamoni of Faleula, who passed away on 20th October 2019, smiled through tears as they pointed members of SVSG to Hope’s grave. The pain is felt by the remaining 9 members of this extended family, and SVSG being there is to reassure the Talamoni household that they are not alone. The grieving parents are now undergoing grief and trauma counselling with SVSG as part of the Outreach assistance being provided.
One of the families visited was that of Lapiki Motusaga who live about 1km inland of Faleula. There are 3 couples living together in this household with the youngest member at 11 months being one of the victims who passed away on 25th November 2019. Two other children from this family have been infected by the measles and were in isolation for the protection of a young mother who is 6 months now into her pregnancy. The Motusaga family do not have access to clean water and this is a concern for the SVSG’s Outreach program. A Response Team of SVSG youth and village representatives will carry out the necessary clean up work at the Motusaga household for the wellbeing of its remaining members.
The third family has 18 members including the 8 grandparents and parents age 70 - 77parents, 4 young adults and 6 children ages 7 months to 10 years old. The youngest member is 7 months old and is infected by the measles.
SVSG sat down with the adults in each of the families we visited and went over with them the basic cleanliness and hygiene solutions necessary to help contain the spread of the virus. Families were encouraged to have their members vaccinated while toiletries and food supplies were presented before the Team left each household.
Seeing small graves in front of family homes has now become the norm as the SVSG Measles Outreach continues; while the raw pain of death is obvious on the faces of the struggling parents and the surviving children, SVSG is comforted by love and support shown and extended from our families and friends here and abroad.
To date, we have received USD3,000 from the Taito Family Ministry and its Lend a Hand initiative to assist with the SVSG Measles Outreach. Thank you Fia Taito and the family for being part of the SVSG family over the years. You have not only supported SVSG’s programs for the children at the shelter, but here again, you have extended your family’s help to support the children victims of the measles epidemic and their families.
Last but not the least, SVSG President Siliniu Lina Chang acknowledges the assistance from our supporters and former volunteers of SVSG who have donated through the Givealittle page specifically set up for the SVSG Measles Outreach.
From the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Vietnam, Denmark, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, Austria, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand; we have seen humanity at its best during thes e trying times. As a family, we remain stronger.