Wednesday, March 18th, 2015
This year the Foundation decided to invest in a stall at the Pasifika Festival in Auckland. The purpose of this was two-fold; to raise awareness about leprosy in New Zealand and the Pacific Island nations, and to gain some possible new donors. In order to get contact details from people, it was decided to run a competition which could be entered on the internet – the prize was a number of gift vouchers from BP, the Warehouse, Air New Zealand and Pak ‘n’ Save – for which we received some very generous sponsorship.
Saturday, which was very hot, was the busiest day – but it was quite difficult to engage people in conversation about our work; on Sunday the pace was slower and quieter and many people were interested in our work and in the disease of leprosy itself. In the afternoon, the remnants of cyclone Pam began to hit the area and so the event finished a little earlier than originally planned.
We were so lucky to have some intrepid helpers to make this exercise a success; Lucy Whitley is the daughter of Tony Whitley (our man in Vanuatu) and is currently studying in Auckland to become a midwife, and Sela Sikaleti has recently undertaken research into the attitudes about leprosy within the Pacific Community – they were both of invaluable help with their energy, enthusiasm and understanding of our work.
Altogether it was an exhausting weekend, but one which we feel was worthwhile.