What we have learnt while being on the road on this 9th Day of the SVSG Measles Outreach is that yes, our people are grieving the loss of our precious children.
But the simplest gestures such as a hug, a pat on the back, a smile, a symbol of hope; are the reassurance that our people needed the most at this time.
A reassurance that as a, community, we do care. That we cry because we felt their pain; that we smile because we have to remain stronger. That we can see behind their brave faces and how much they are holding on, for the sake of their surviving children.
And that is where SVSG comes in as Family; to support, to help and to care for our people during these difficult times.
During this 9th Day of the Outreach, SVSG counseled 3 grieving mothers: 21 year old Petina Alesana of Letogo who lost her 9 months old daughter Sierra Alesana to the measles. She held on tightly to her 2 year old son Benjamin Alesana while talking to us; Next we had the 8 months pregnant Veronika Hala of Laulii. A very young couple, Veronika and her husband Pula are grieving the loss of their only child Joseph Hala to the measles;
Lastly, we visited Tilomai and her husband Saolotoga Ah Siu of Vaitoloa and spent some time with their 6 remaining children. The measles claimed the life of their baby daughter Hazel Ah Siu at 1 year old.
All of these parents called the SVSG Help Line for counseling support during this time of loss, and we gladly assisted them. And it was good timing that a donation of 30 assorted Gift Bags were donated by Ariana Paul of Tri Maori Charitable of New Zealand specifically for the grieving mothers of the measles epidemic. Included in the gift bags was a small red box containing a gold chain with a pendant of a butterfly inside a heart. According to Ms. Ariana, “tell the grieving mothers that since the butterfly had flown away, their hearts remain with them.” Thank you Ariana for the kind donation and the inspirational story behind it.
Thank you also to the donations received to date from Zachery & Margie Snyder of Utah USD100.00; Brian & Nelda Atkins of the Pacific Aluminium ST1,000.00; Sunrise Restaurant ST300.00, McCaw Lewis Lawyers of Hamilton New Zealand NZD1,000 and the staff of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) of Christchurch New Zealand NZD150.00. Through your generosity, we have been able to reassure our grieving families that we are here to support, to help and to care for them as Family.