TIV supports kindness in ongoing COVID-19 Crisis
Transparency Vanuatu has acknowledged all health workers and frontline workers who dedicate their lives to keeping the people of Vanuatu safe from effects of the spreading COVID-19 virus.
This virus does not respect boundaries or social status. Yes, we have heard of allegations of preferential treatments given to some of our Leaders, allegations of some Leaders preaching quarantine protocols and allegations of breeches of basic human rights and so on.
While the Head of Transparency International Vanuatu (TIV), Dr. Willie Tokon, is a renowned medical doctor by trade, he says his spiritual faith has always played a leading role in all his decision making in his professional life. For this reason, he believes the global pandemic has been a catalyst for Christians to recognise the basic needs of their next door neighbours and show kindness to conform to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ in line with Christ’s teaching. Assistance in all forms from well-to-do Leaders, Chiefs, Community Leaders, Church Leaders and support from family leaders must be acknowledged. TIV congratulates all parents for bringing back Family Worship in the home.
TIV wishes to share its observations after its members of staff have discussed individual exchanges of how their neighbours are now sharing with each other in the current lockdown.
“One of the young men jumped off the bus in my community with 15-kilo bag of rice comprising one-kilo pre-packed plastic bags of rice on his back. While on his way to his door, he opened the bag and started handing out a kilo of rice each to families saying, ‘Cook this for supper,” TIV Advocate Douglas Tamara says.
“As men gather for their daily dose of kava at the kava bar in our community, everyone gets ready to go bottoms-up but this evening, the bar owner says, ‘Before we start drinking (our kava), may I ask one of you to bless the evening with a prayer to thank the Lord for being good to us’. We all paused. Someone prayed. This is the first time that anyone has cared to say a prayer before any kava drinking spree here!”
Tamara says the virus crisis has impacted his community with so much love and care that it seems everyone has realised the importance of putting God in front of everything.
Another member of staff says a senior public servant who used to be ‘in his own world’ has suddenly recognised the grassroot members of his community and now visits with greens and food supplies from the market.
Our TIV Media Officer says last week his family was surprised when a Bongo vehicle stopped at their gate and started unloading fresh agricultural produce at their gate. The food supply was so much that they went on to distribute it to 50 households. The recipients were assured that it was “all blessings from God”.
Speaking by mobile, the donor asked to remain anonymous saying she felt the urgency to buy all the food from Eton farmers then hired a truck to ask that the food be distributed to people in critical need for food at this time.
Then the latest incident impressed then shocked two mothers when they followed their church doctrine to “go to your family”. They took with them seven parcels of ‘namba 8 kato’ – 5 in each. They started distributing for free to the first family. It immediately triggered fiery verbal exchanges between ‘mum and dad and son’ since the boy took more than one.
The father threatened the son with a piece of iron rod and the poor boy returned one of the two ‘kato’ he snatched. The mothers ended up leaving 15 ‘kato’ to ease the situation.
On hearing the sad report, TIV suspects similar experiences in the grassroot communities where most likely the lockdown is already causing hardship as far as putting sufficient food on the table for every member of the family.
Fortunately for ni-Vanuatu, food sharing is an art and has sustained families and tribes for generations. Please keep the practice alive especially now in the current COVID-19 lockdown.
Let us continue to work together, share and support each other. Cut out the preferential treatments, bribery and corruption. And may God continue to keep Vanuatu in His bubble of love, care and protection always.