Samoa Relief Wave 2010Tsunami Children start 2010 with a smile
The Samoa Relief Wave is a grassroots, community coalition comprised of friends, family, corporations and members of the Pacific Islander community of Utah, united to assist in the relief efforts to aid tsunami victims in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga.
Okay, you probably all have wondered what had happened to our crates of Christmas stockings sent to Samoa. There was a hiccup with delivery from SLC to LA and the vessel didn't reach Samoa until the last day of December. Things however couldn't have gotten any better, thanks to our partners, The US Veterans of Samoa, Inc.
They promptly utilized their military experience in expediting the delivery, and thankfully they were able to cut through the red tape as all government offices were closed for the holidays. The very next day, New Years Day 2010, President Afoafouvale Mark Moors and his crew got going.
Enjoy the report from Mark:
The first sunrise of 2010 dawned a partly cloudy, warm day. A great day for the mission tasked to the US Veterans of Samoa volunteers. The Veteran team of
F. â€œKiofuâ€ Nansen (USMC), Maae Taala (US Army), â€œKitâ€ Faumui (US Army), â€œSargeâ€ J. Moors (US Army), Honorable MP â€œJoeâ€. Keil (USAF), and â€œPresâ€ M. Moors (USAF) were poised for maneuvers around the tsunami affected region of Upolu, Samoa. A support crew of wives, children, grand children, and Nathan Keil completed the convoy. The mission: to deliver Christmas gift stockings to the children of the tsunami affected families. In the early morning the team had assembled to unpack the contents of crates delivered the day before. The shipment of Christmas Stockings stuffed with gifts had arrived on the last day of 2009. Sec. Treasurer Al Garcia (US Army) had handled the shipment release process and VP Benjamin Steffany (US Army) had taken care of feeding the distribution team. Now with three pickup trucks completely loaded, the team gathered after a refueling stop at Vailele for a prayer of thanks giving for their part in this mission, and a request for divine guidance and protection.
Ms Lee Letui (USAF) joined the convoy at Saleaumua and the trek inland to reach the relocated families of the tsunami-affected region began in earnest. As the
team moved further inland, they found that many of the families were still using tarpaulins and tents for shelter. Makeshift huts dotted the landscape and new taro plantations were springing up where previously there was shrub. And then there they were, the children with their resilient eager faces. This was New Years day but many were coming out of the bushes where they had either been sent for firewood or gone to assist in clearing and planting. It was wonderful to see the young faces light up as they realized this tsunami relief shipment was strictly for them and aimed a bringing some fun back into their lives. And so the Vets and crew got to work through rain and shine, handing out the SRW Christmas stockings.
Stop after stop we witnessed the same excitement and sparkle in the young eyes as we traversed the newly made, muddy back roads to the inland settlements. I guess we could have moved quickly from village to village if we had stayed on the main coastal road. However to reach the families who were affected we had to drive inland to the new tsunami settlements at each of the affected villages. The mission was a rewarding exercise in giving of our time to deliver what the generous sponsors of the Samoa Relief Wave organization had donated. We were there to hand out the stockings, receiving the grateful thank you and seeing the childrenâ€™s gratitude for the gifts.
The mission was a huge success as we covered the villages of Saleaumua, Mutiatele, Malaela, Satitoa, Ulutogia, Vailoa, Lalomanu, Saleapaga and Lepa. And as the sun set on the first day of 2010, the team of US Veterans and their support crew made their way home, thoroughly hungry, thirsty, wet, and exhausted; but completely satisfied in the knowledge that they had helped bring some measure of joy to the lives of many of the tsunami affected children.
And with that they report the â€œmission accomplished.â€
The US Veterans of Samoa truly appreciate the opportunity of being a partner in this mission of love planned and organized by those who are the Samoa Relief Wave. People like Wendy Alafua, Adele Patane, Margaret "Lita" Sagato and others along with the many sponsors. God bless and guide your efforts this New Year.http://samoareliefwave.blogspot.com/2010/01/tsunami-children-start-2010-with-smile.html