Villagers still scarred from tsunami

Nine years on from the devastating effects of the 2009 tsunami in Samoa, some villagers remain emotionally and mentally scarred from the ordeal.

Over 60 villagers from Saleapaga and Sapo’e joined local trainers who recently completed a course in trauma management, which was run by the Loma Linda University from California and supported by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (A.D.R.A.).

The  villagers interacted with the trainers and told them how some of them still have nightmares and sleepless nights, which affect not only their mental but also their physical health. The trainers are able to give the affected villagers emotional support, which are some of the skills they learnt on how to handle and understand their traumatic experience. 

A.D.R.A. Samoa country director Sua Julia Wallwork was elated at the level of interaction between the villagers and the local trainers, saying the villagers are taking a major step to open up about their experiences. 

“I am so happy they are responding well normally villages don’t open up, which is a major step. A.D.R.A. did a programme a few years ago (called) ‘Open the door’, to try and wind down the barriers of all the taboos that prevent the communication within the families I see the opening here and now,” she said. 

With the first batch of trainers from the workshop now commissioned, the next step for the not-for-profit-organisation is to go out to other villages and spread the skills.

“It is very easy to adapt to the Samoan people, the Samoan life. We talk to them and they already experienced what we are trying to share with them. They are quite happy with the ideas we bring in. We apply to them to share their experience with the relatives, who have the same issues,” said Niulevaea Adan Afamasaga, who also works for A.D.R.A and attended the training workshop.

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