News Release

Crops from Samoan Home Gardens Arrive in Vanuatu

When two containers filled with taro — grown in family gardens of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Samoa — arrived in Port Vila last week, the grateful people of Vanuatu were visibly touched by the brotherly and sisterly love shown to them by people they have never met. 

“When I received the bag of taro, tears streamed down my cheeks,” said Rollyn Tounguen.  “I cannot express my feeling of gratitude towards my brothers and sisters in Samoa for the sacrifice they made for us to receive food from their home gardens. I still cannot comprehend this ‘bigfala lav.’” 

Volunteers helped distribute the food to families still recovering from March's Cyclone Pam. Many people lost their family gardens in the storm.

President of the Church's Port Vila Port Vila district, Yvon Basil, was present to delegate the distribution of the bags of taro which began early afternoon and continued through the night.

Once the taro arrived at the Latter-day Saint meetinghouse, local church leaders found themselves busy as they shared the welcomed gift with families.

“I don’t want to waste the taro,” said Toutapau Thenson. “So I make sure we eat every bit of it. We boil it, we bake it in the te-umu and we fry it. These taros come from the heart of the people of Samoa and I am just grateful.”

Many people expressed sincere gratitude towards the people of Samoa for their kindness and sacrifice. As one person put it, “Taro ia I swit we!” ("This taro is very sweet!")

Similar containers donated by members of the Church in Tonga have also been shipped to Vanuatu to help communities.

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