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Goshen Trust staff to pamper three residents

As families across Samoa gather singing Christmas carols with their families, three residents of the Goshen Trust Mental Health residency won’t be.

But with the help of their staff, volunteers and a smattering of fairy lights, Goshen will try to have a special Christmas anyway.

Chief executive officer Naomi Eshragi said she would rather the three remaining residents had families or friends to share Christmas with, but she knows it’s not always possible.

“We’d like nothing better for families to visit them, take them home to spend the week of Christmas with them, and meet their extending families visiting from overseas,” she said.

The month of December, and the lead-up towards the festive season can be a challenging or stressful time for residents of the trust, Ms Eshraghi said.

“The spirit of Christmas is about coming together to celebrate a whole year of survival with your loved ones.

“It’s stressful when your family doesn’t turn up – it’s more than stressful, it’s quite sad, and it affects everyone.”

For some, their families are no longer in Samoa, or perhaps their elderly parents cannot support them any longer.

“In this country, it’s such a special time, but not everyone is able to make it special for everybody, but we do try!”

Ms Eshraghi will be celebrating her first Christmas with the trust as well. Management will be putting on a “little” party, she said, and the residents will cook a festive meal together. 

They’ll also go to church together and give thanks for the year, at Livingstone Church where they attend weekly services.

“The gift of having somewhere to live – shelter, food, being loved and treated well, it’s all a gift that every day in Goshen we are thankful for as an organisation,” Ms Eshragi said.

“We’re thankful they’re not on the street. They’re not beaten up, they’re not chased out their villages, they are here.”

For those who will go home, Goshen Trust has been preparing families and their loved ones to help them get through the festive period safely.

As for the others, it may be their second or third Christmas away from home, as they continue their journey to recovery.

“For this year, I wish that they would find a nice environment for those few days so they can get the spirit of it, the experience of it, and as well the staff could get the time off to be with their families,” Ms Eshraghi said.

“This is a time of love, a time of kindness, and so it’s a time when a demonstration of these values are needed, isn’t it?”

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