Good­bye, My Sis­ter

Com­mu­ni­ties and those pass­ing by pay last re­spects to Mere

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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

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

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.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

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.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

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.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Lo­mary Catholic Pri­mary School head­teacher Rusila Kubuna­vanua with the books that be­longed to Mere Ailevu.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

Veronika Vosamace­dru (hold­ing photo frame) has lost a sis­ter that she al­ways

looked up to.

Photo: Ron­ald Ku­mar

MOURN­ING IN SI­LENCE... Mere Ailevu’s father Kameli Vosamace­dru.

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