Nurses' love prevails through deadly epidemic

Unlike most weddings this holiday season, Alatutuiomaloitafuna McCarthy and Meia Su'a's wedding planning hit more than one unexpected obstacle when the measles epidemic struck Samoa.

The couple, both 27-years-old, are registered nurses at the Moto'otua hospital and suddenly found themselves working non-stop instead of planning in the three months leading up to their big day.

Mr. McCarthy told the Samoa Observer that they had faced so many challenges they considered cancelling the event but the support of faith and family helped them overcome. 

The couple have been together since university and already have two children, with another on the way. 

It was about time they settled down, said Mr. McCarthy.

"To me, I was just thinking that we needed to get married; my first priority is my kids and our family" he said.

"And you know what? It has been so stressful. Working 24/7 with no break, so it's been depressing too for us to plan this wedding at the same time.

"But it has been a good challenge for us to map out how we would plan for this and also help out the people with the measles epidemic."

His wife was still working throughout the epidemic, despite being four months pregnant. 

"[There were a] lot of discouragements and [we were] almost about to give up and all, with financial problems and stuff like that but thank God we made it," Mr. McCarthy said.

The couple met while they were both in National University of Samoa studying nursing. But the couple's story actually began on the rugby field, with Meia working as the watergirl of the team Alatutui was captaining.

"I think she fell for me because I was the captain of the team," he laughed.

"So we started talking and became really close and ended up having our first kid while we were both still in school.

"This was one of our first challenges because my wife ended up not graduating that year, but we made it because we continued and graduated about four years ago."

Mr. McCarthy said their wedding day was a dream come true for the both of them, something they have been thinking about and continued to work towards for a long time.

Alatutui is the son of Reverend Keith and Feauina McCarthy while Meia is the daughter of Muao Isaako and Ali'itasi Su'a.

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