Samoan seasonal workers finally reunited with family

One hundred and forty Samoan seasonal workers returning from New Zealand have been reunited with family and friends in Poutasi, around 32 kilometres south of Apia.

The men completed their 14 day quarantine on Friday and the Samoa Observer newspaper reported they were greeted by people who'd travelled from as far as Savai'i and Manono.

The group were repatriated seasonal workers who had been given the opportunity to be quarantined in their own village.

The 'in-village' quarantine had been organised by Poutasi High Chief Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale.

The workers were split in two and isolated in two village halls just a stone throw away from the district hospital and the police outpost.

Some local companies assisted during the quarantine period, providing hygienic products as well as food, and local mobile service provider Digicel provided sim cards and calling credit so the workers could talk to their family throughout their ordeal.

On hand to see the end of the quarantine were Ministry of Health staff along with the Chairman of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Ulu Bismarck Crawley.

Group leader and father of eight, Fuimaono Auseugalelei Lagavale, described his reunion with family as "very emotional" and said he had the most passionate hug of his life with his children.

"Today, we feel great and touched as we've been cleared from quarantine especially to an overwhelming reunion like this."

"Two weeks was not easy but the team effort of all the boys here got us through all the challenging experiences we've encountered within the 14 days of quarantine," he said.

One of the eldest workers, Lufilufi Pokati Tulaga, 53, of Poutasi was desperate to reconcile with his one year old son.

"He's my only son and I was so down when I realised that I was going to miss his birthday although I knew that I needed to provide for him and my family," he said.


Photo file Caption: Repatriated seasonal workers who arrived in Samoa a fortnight ago have been released from the quarantine facility.