Goodbye, My Sister
Communities and those passing by pay last respects to Mere
The piercing cry of four-year- old Briana Joy filled the Arts Village Cemetery at Pacific Harbour.
This is the final resting place of her older sister, Mere Ailevu. Briana and Mere were close. Mere’s father, Kameli Vosamacedru, had to restrain his second youngest daughter but Briana fought hard to keep her sister’s casket in sight. Mere, 14, was found dead and halfnaked with a Tee-shirt tied around her neck at Loloma Beach last Monday. Police have already determined that she was brutally raped, sodomised and killed. They have not ruled out the possibility that she was gang-raped. Family members, friends, teachers and those passing by gathered in numbers to pay their last respects to Mere. Her body was not taken to the Lomary Catholic Primary School or to the Vunibuabua Church of God as planned. The funeral cortege spent less than 10 minutes at her home in Vunibuabua settlement. It is understood that this was strictly under the Doctor’s advice.
Mere’s mum, Sili Keli, said her last farewell to her oldest daughter at home. She could not attend the burial as she had to attend to her one-month old son. Mere’s short but moving memorial service took place at the cemetery.
Her younger sister, 11-year-old Veronika Vosamacedru described Mere’s departure as “painful”. “Au sega vakadua ni tadra ni mai yali na taciqu nuitaki io au na dau nanuma tuga na veisiga vinaka kei na siga dredre keitou a lako curuma vata mai.”
(I still cannot believe what happened to my sister and the feeling is so painful but I will always hold dear all the precious memories that we shared as a family and this will always carry me through). “She was my lifelong friend and I could always count on her but death has separated us.” Unity was evident during the funeral procession as villagers from Galoa, Nakorovou, Dranikula, Sigasigalaca and Lepanoni and Vunibuabua settlement gathered in numbers. Teachers of Lomary Catholic Primary School together with Year Seven and Eight students and their parents were also present. Her friends laid wreaths around her casket and even collected her books from school to be buried together with Mere. Teacher Amalaini Waqanacula described Mere as a very athletic and happy student. “She loved doing extra-curriculum activities in school and she will be missed by everyone who knows her personally,” she said. Vunibuabua Assemblies of God Church pastor Tavaga Narawa said: “The act committed against this young lady is inhumane and we hope that justice will be served.
“We believe that despite the loss, this young girl has gone to a better place that is without fear and crying will be all over and life will be made whole,” Pastor Narawa said. Edited by Maraia Vula
RIGHT: A big crowd of family members and school mates of 14-year-old Mere Ailevu turned up to bid her
farewell as she was laid to rest at Pacific Harbour yesterday.
BELOW: Veronika Vosamacedru (middle) could not hold back tears as her eldest sister 14-year-old Mere
Ailevu is laid to rest at Pacific Harbour yesterday.
Rest in Peace... Mere Ailevu, 14.
Families, friends and school mates of 14-year-old Mere Ailevu pay their last respects as she is laid to rest at Pacific Harbour yesterday.
Lomary Catholic Primary School headteacher Rusila Kubunavanua with the books that belonged to Mere Ailevu.
Veronika Vosamacedru (holding photo frame) has lost a sister that she always
looked up to.
MOURNING IN SILENCE... Mere Ailevu’s father Kameli Vosamacedru.