As the SVSG Measles Outreach team travelled about 35 minutes out of town towards the western coast of Upolu, there was the usual silence in the vehicles as we neared Fasitoo-uta, the designation for Day 8 of the Community Outreach.
This is because of the anticipated mood within the households affected by the measles as we have experienced while on the road over the last 2 weeks. But the Team’s first stop was a bright yellow house that greeted us with a ‘God is Good’ writing on wall. And this reminder was enough to get us through the 118 residence of the 20 families at Fasitoo-uta reached by the Program.
With the assistance of the SVSG village represetatives at Fasitoo-uta namely Leaupepe Feausi and Akenese Matavao, we were able to visit 2 families who have lost loved ones plus 18 others whose children have been infected by the measles and have all been recovered.
The highlight of the Outreach at Fasitoo-uta were the smiles we were greeted with by the families. These are the parents and children with fresh wounds from the loss of loved ones. These are the most vulnerable; especially the children and the underprivilege, yet, through their smiles, it was their way of getting through all this.
And this is the resilience of our people with unwavering faith; that despite the measles epidemic and the darkness that it brought to our journey as a country, God is Good.
Thank you so much to the residence of Fasitoo-uta for helping us help others better. Because while our focus is to lend a helping hand to our families and our communities most affected, we have been struggling to remain stronger. This is due to the early morning start to the village communities and the late nights at the office to update reports and prepare for the next visits.
The SVSG’s counseling team observed that the resilience of the affected residence of Fasitoo-uta is helping to heal the psychological wounds and rebuilt as a community affected by the measles. They are becoming active survivors rather than passive victims.
And this positive attitude is encouraging the SVSG volunteers who are part of the Measles Outreach team. While gathering data on affected families, completing needs assessment, and distributing the donated supplies, our young volunteers were seen smiling their way through it all.
Thank you to the donations received to date from the Management & Staff of the Samoa Life Assurance Corporation $200; Mr. & Mrs. Ken Newton of the CCK Trading Limited $500; Wilson Mckay (Barrister & Solicitor) of New Zealand $5,022.25; and Mr. Suresh Mahboobani of Thailand USD100, as it enabled us to buy basic food and toiletry supplies including diapers and milk for the affected children and their families.
“Be encouraged Samoa, because together, we can smile at the storm.” Siliniu Lina Chang, SVSG President