Tofiga, Nonu bring gifts for families of measles victims
Comedian, Tofiga Fepulea'i and former All Black, Ma'a Nonu, have arrived in Samoa with donations from New Zealand to help Samoa with the measles crisis.
Fepulea'i and his wife Bessie, along with Nonu have brought medical resources like masks, diapers and hand sanitisers, as well as toys for the families of measles victims that were donated in Wellington.
They are joining forces with Toa Samoa forward, Martin Taupau and his N.R.L. Community Relations Manager wife Michelle, who teamed up with the N.R.L. to collect clothes and toys in Sydney, to personally deliver all the donated goods on Friday.
Fepulea'i said it had been tough to see what was happening in Samoa from afar.
“I think the hardest thing was watching the news, feeling like we weren’t able to do anything. It’s a short trip, but it’s a really important one for us," he said.
They are leaving on Saturday, but very much looking forward to visiting the families who have lost loved ones on Friday.
"Hopefully we can put a smile on their face and make it feel like it’s Christmas," Fepulea'i said.
“It’s just nice to be here, nice to do what we can. It’ll be little but we just want to contribute in any way we can. We’re not doctors or anything like that, but hopefully we’ll be able to put smiles on people’s faces."
The comedian and actor said just thinking about seeing those families who have lost so much made him teary-eyed.
“I’m just happy I’m here with my wife, Ma’a, Marty and Michelle, because we’re all going together, hopefully we’ll have the strength to try and be strong for the families, but it’ll be hard," Fepulea'i said.
He said coming in person was important too, and meant more to them then just sending things over:
“We wanted to show the rest of the world, and our families too back home, that it’s OK to come to Samoa.
“I understand a lot of businesses are losing out, with a lot of trips and that being postponed or cancelled.
“But I also understand a lot of families can’t come over, even though I know that they wish they could, give it that real personal touch."
Fepulea'i said he and the others were blessed to be able to do so, and share the love given by the people in New Zealand and Australia.
“We bring a lot of love, not only in gifts and that, but a lot of people are praying for our beautiful country, our people, especially those that have lost loved ones," he said.
“There’s a lot of love for Samoa, and we’re just a little part of it that’s able to come and physically show it, and be here for our people."
Fepulea'i thanked everyone who supported and donated to the relief effort, as well as the Taupaus and their N.R.L. for their efforts in Sydney.
He also thanked Taumeasina Island Resort for facilitating their stay, and the Government of Samoa and Air New Zealand for making it easy to bring all the gifts and medical resources.
“A lot of people supporting, no one will know their names or ever see their faces but they’re supporting in their own little way and we really appreciate that – thank you to everyone for showing love to Samoa," Fepulea'i said.