NATION

Never Going To Be The Same

  Since the day her sister left home, four-year-old Briana Joy has never been the same. Her big sister Mere Ailevu was her world. They sat in church together; they
24 Mar 2016 09:00
Never Going To Be The Same
The late Mere Ailevu’s family outside their home on Tuesday night. Inset: Adi Pole Bania clings onto her late sister’s new PUMA bag. Photos: Aqela Susu

 

Since the day her sister left home, four-year-old Briana Joy has never been the same.

Her big sister Mere Ailevu was her world.

They sat in church together; they played together; they watched the afternoon volleyball games together – they were literally inseparable.

Now, all that Briana does is cry.

She finds solace in the strong arms of her father.

They remember Mere, murdered brutally in yet another example of violence against women and children.

On Tuesday as the sun retired beyond Deuba shores, Briana’s high pitched voice could be heard near the Vunibuabua Church of God building.

Her father, Kameli Vosamacedru is racing against time to ensure there is light in their home.

A 20-metre long extension cord connects their partly corrugated iron and wooden home to the church.

“We have no power at home but since what happened to Mere, we are all still fearful knowing that it can happen to anyone,” said Sili Keni, Mere’s mother.

“A few houses near the church get their electricity from there and we pay a small fee.”

Mere’s four siblings including Briana are shooed away by their mother to their makeshift bathroom behind their home.

“What has happened has been a big lesson for me – about always having to keep my children in sight and knowing their whereabouts. It is a tough lesson but I hope it doesn’t happen to any parent.”

Mere’s mum pointed to the pink PUMA bag at the corner of the house.

“She loves pink, so we bought her that bag along with her new uniform.  She never used it.”

Though she is showered and fresh, Briana’s big and seemingly lost stare is puffy.

Her sobs feel this humble abode where not-so-long ago was filled with chuckles and laughter from the siblings.

The floor moved beneath us as we moved around for photos.

A plywood about two metres high separates the kitchen and living room from their bedroom.

From the other side of the plywood, Mere’s father breaks the echoing sobs and  utters the ghastly reality: “Life is never going to be the same again.

“It’s people we are now afraid of. Not demons.”

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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