When we heard the news late last year that Rosaline was pregnant again, we rejoiced for her and have kept her in prayer ever since. When we heard the news that Cyclone Pam was on its way, she was one of the first people I thought of and worried for.
The cyclone was a tough and terrifying time for everyone, but perhaps especially for Rosaline, who has already lost so much. Here is her story of the night it hit, as told to Helen Manson of TEARFund.
“My name is Rosaline Samuels and I am 36 years old. I have produced four children but two died when they were young. I am now six months pregnant. Amelia is 11 and Winnie is 7 with a heart condition that means she has not grown since she was very young. The night of the cyclone I was in my house when it completely collapsed. We escaped quickly and moved to another house. When that house started collapsing I moved to another house. I found it hard to move quickly from place to place with such strong winds and items flying in the air. It was the largest storm I’ve ever seen in my life. Not only was I trying to protect my two children but also the baby inside me. I told my husband after we moved to the third house that I would not be moving again. I lost the will to survive at that point I was just so tired of it all. With help from Nasi Tuan and other NGO’s I have hope that things will get better. My husband and I hope to receive seeds to re-plant our garden from Nasi Tuan and I know that the field coordinator is coming to our part of the island tomorrow to teach us about preserving the food in our garden. Without her teaching our cassava and bananas will go off faster than we can eat them.”
Helen has also kindly sent us some photos she took of Rosaline and her children. I was delighted to see that Rosaline has still got her indomitable smile; she has overcome the darkest moments and is looking to the future for her family and new baby. While this future is uncertain, there is a lot of progress being made.
Food aid is being distributed on Tanna this week, and each family will be receiving a sack of rice, two packets of noodles, a tin of tuna and a tin of meat. This will last 15 days. Although it is wonderful to have food, this is obviously not a balanced diet, and there is a desperate need for green veggies and fresh produce.
To that effect, Nasi Tuan is working with urgency on an agricultural recovery project, which will involve clearing gardens, planting seeds, and pruning/rehabilitating coffee plants in order to provide income for farmers. Although in the past Nasi Tuan has focused on a smaller contained area, since Cyclone Pam hit, we have been called upon to deliver a project that can reach almost the entire island of Tanna- a huge step up! More staff are needed, and thankfully another of TEARFund’s partners, Ola Fau, are going to be helping out with manpower and training.
We are INCREDIBLY grateful to all the donations that have been made to Nasi Tuan in the past few weeks. These funds will be used to support the ongoing work that we are doing, and also for urgent needs such as Chainsaws to clear gardens. Thank you everyone for all your generosity. The staff of Nasi Tuan and the people of Tanna are so grateful.