Vanuatu: Carmen’s Story


Carmen can’t stop smiling. It’s infectious! And as she invites me into her temporary home—a classroom—she’s really excited to show me her new items. Rice. Milk Powder . . .

“Thank you ADRA,” she whispers to me.

I am just so happy. I am so touched that people have the heart to share.

Carmen and her five children have been seeking shelter at the ADRA-supported Epauto Seventh-day Adventist Secondary School for the past week. She is in the same position as many women at the evacuation centre, alone during the cyclone as their husbands are away seeking seasonal work.

She packed up her house, sent her children into the evacuation centre, made some food and then joined them as they huddled in the classroom waiting for the brunt of the storm to it.

“It was something I have never experienced before. It made me very scared. I was shaking,” she remembers.

Her daughter, Celestine, was so distraught she vomited throughout the night.

“The storm moved the leavers, and we had to hide in the middle of the room.”

“There was water all over the floor so we had to put the children on top of the chairs.”

I ask her if she knows the condition of her house.

She simply looks at the sky and with simple words says, “It is not up anymore.”

For the last week Carmen has been feeding her children manioc, but it is almost gone. It was only this morning that Carmen realised that an ADRA supplementary food kit was being delivered!

“I am just so happy,” she smiles again.

“I am so touched that people have the heart to share.”

She says again, “I thank the Lord, and I thank ADRA.”