Despite losing her 6 months old granddaughter after being infected with the measles from 2 children she massaged as a traditional healer, Ta’afi Faleupolu of Toamua does not regret helping the children who survived the measles.
This is from a mother who is currently looking after her family of two daughters on her own as her husband is currently working in Kiribati. According to Ta’afi, “I knew that I’ll be exposing my family to the measles from still accepting children for their normal traditional massage, but that is my job as a traditional healer, I have to help the children.” Baby Taualofa was 6 months old when she passed away at home after losing her battle with the measles.
Down the road from Ta’afi’s house, we found an elderly grandfather on his wheelchair. There does not seem to be any problem at all as his 8 children are all grown between the ages of 15 – 36 years old.
But behind the grandfather’s brave face, he was mourning the loss of two of his grandchildren born off his eldest daughter and fourth son. According to the grandfather, his fourth son was infected by the virus from his workplace and that was how his grandchildren got the measles. And instead of being bitter towards the whole situation, the grandfather remained calm, and was grateful that his children were able to being part of the support system called by the government when the state of emergency was declared for Samoa. Talking about patriotic spirit amidst the personal loss to his family, this grandfather was thinking beyond his own family, towards the safety of the many children being affected.
These are altruistic grandparents whose unselfish acts of kindness supersede their own emotional wellness. And these heroic stories from the measles epidemic is worthy of being told, as it highlights humanity amidst the adversities.
But we wish we could say the same for Iulai and So’o Taele whose 7th child and the youngest at 10 months old died at home from the measles on 29th November. However, when the SVSG Outreach visited this family, the parents pointed us to a spot infront of their house, covered by a blue tarpaulin, as their dead child is still at the morgue awaiting coronial inquest.
The family seem so lost, with any sense of hope found in their unwavering faith that God will get them through this whole ordeal. They just wanted to have their baby laid to rest.
And as the Outreach continues, grieving parents and affected families have used the Help Line to alert SVSG of the need for assistance. At the same time, supporters are calling in to lend a helping hand. Thank you to Bluebird Lumber and Hardward for the donation of $800, Tuala & Sarona Ponifasio of the Travellers Point $1,000 and Digicel Samoa for the donation valued at $10,000 ($5,000 shopping vouchers at Ah Liki Wholesale and $5,000 credit to assist the affected families).
Lastly, thank you to the SVSG Village Representatives of Toamua, Ale Komiti & faletua and Vaine for walking together with us to reach our families in need at Toamua.