7 year old Fena Peter, from Tanna Vanuatu, has not walked in two years and is in urgent need of life saving surgery to her right leg!
Bay of Plenty
Vinna (Fena) is a little girl, stranded through circumstances and poverty in a small village on a tiny island in the middle of the huge Pacific Ocean.
Her leg is broken – the bone fractured in two places - with absolutely no chance of healing while she lives thousands of miles from the high tech medical care she needs. Her chance of surviving both the fracture and the infection that has now become chronic in her broken bones, is slim. (see photos in Gallery)
We met Vinna by chance while visiting Vanuatu to build a cyclone shelter in a nearby village. It was hard to believe that this lovely 8 year old girl had survived for nearly two years since the break & subsequent infection took root in her leg.
But Vinna is a fighter – she is still alive after two years with no definitive treatment, unable to walk or attend school. Her parents have done their best – they have used all the traditional medicine that they can, dressing her wounds with banana leaves and clean rags, making cuts in her flesh to let the pus out. She still smiles after we dressed her wounds, lifting her arms to be carried back to the hut she calls home.
The medical system in Vanuatu cannot support a case as severe as this; in order to save her life she must be medically evacuated to NZ for treatment and care.
The good news is that there are organisations willing to help. Marine Reach, Family Care Center and Fruit of the Pacific are working in partnership to get Vinna the care she needs. Now, we just need you to join us!
You've heard the story of the little boy and the starfish. On a beach filled with thousands of starfish stranded by a very low tide, he kept on picking up dying starfish and throwing them back into the water. When an adult laughed at him and said “You can’t possibly save them all!” the little boy just picked up another one and gently tossed it back into the sea. “Saved that one,” he said.
Please be that little boy for Vinna – pausing long enough to “Make a difference” in just one life. We will keep you updated on her progress.
She will be in NZ for awhile having treatment and rehabilitation – who knows – you might get to meet her and experience her beautiful smile for yourself.
Fruit of the Pacific have partnered with Marine Reach & their Vanuatu Family Care Center to support Fena's case with NZ fundraising and logistics.
Fruit of the Pacific educates and mentors short term Pacific migrants
The funds raised will be used to support Fena's costs of travel and medical care. Initially, they will go to passport processing, medical visa applications, flights and insurance for Fena and her primary care giver, her mother Karina.
No admin fees will be deducted by Fruit of the Pacific nor any other organisation associated with this cause (except for the 5% admin fee givealittle charge for this service).
Vinna is home for summer! 5 January 2020
Happy New Years and what a great celebration we have to share with you.... in the weeks before Christmas, Vinna was given the all clear by her surgeon... He said her leg is fully healed - ie no longer broken - she has an intact femur for the first time in literally years! He said there was no sign of infection. He said she could go home! This fantastic news brought on tears of joy - best Christmas present ever!
With such great news, Vinna said a thankful goodbye to her Vila host family, hopped on a plane with Mel (who has been her nurse in Vanuatu throughout this journey), and landed on Tanna, not just for a visit, but to return home to live with her family! I can only imagine what the last few weeks have been like for Vinna and her siblings - it's been two years since she spent a Christmas or New Years with them!
Vinna will return to NZ in April to have the plate removed, and until then will go to school in her local village; reconnecting with her family, her home, her community and her island identity.
I'm sure there will be highs and lows as life settles back into a normal routine. I've already heard she is missing the ocean and wants to go swimming - she loves the water so much but lives in an inland village... its not as easy as in NZ, just jumping in a car and heading to a beach or swimming pool. But she'll adjust - she's proven her resilience, courage and determination over this long journey.
She did well at her school in Port Vila this last year and we will continue to support her with her school fees and access to education either in Tanna or Vila in the future. But for now, this growing girl deserves a well earned holiday with her family!
This page was started in Feb 2017 ... almost three years ago ... to help a very sick girl access life saving health care. Today we celebrate her full return home!! How incredible! And with such a blessing to celebrate, this will be the last update on this page. Thank you for journeying with Vinna, for your care and love and prayers. As Vinna enjoys being home with her family. we wish you a great summer - may it be filled with the joy and love of connection with family and friends.