Friends rally to give Amos a helping hand
A fundraising concert in Blenheim has gathered nearly $1000 to go towards the medical costs of seasonal vineyard worker Amos Renty, of Vanuatu.
Mr Renty fractured his hand the day before he left for New Zealand to work with Marlborough vineyard contracting firm Seasonal Solutions under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme.
He is one of many RSE workers from Vanuatu who have seized the chance to earn good wages to support families and communities back home, including building houses and sending their children to school.
Mr Renty learned he had to have an operation to fix his broken hand soon after beginning pruning.
The procedure was done in May, 10 days after he arrived in the country, at Blenheim's Wairau Hospital.
Having never been to a hospital before, the two to three-hour wait and the procedure, which involved inserting a titanium plate, had been daunting, Mr Renty said.
On top of that he had to pay the $4500 medical bill. He was not covered by medical insurance as the fracture happened in Vanuatu.
Fortunately, the Blenheim community came up with most of the money for Mr Renty's operation, Seasonal Solutions advocate Ann Maunsell said. However, there was still a shortfall.
To cover it, friends, fellow workers and the Blenheim ni-Vanuatu community put on a fundraising concert at the Blenheim Assembly of God church on Saturday night, which raised $909.
One of those who attended, Sandra Saul, of Estonia, described a show "that was brimming with energy – feet were tapping and hands clapping along to the string band rhythm as an enraptured audience listened to songs about Vanuatu's beauty, blue skies, warm water and white beaches".
She said kind words and prayers, along with presentations about the ni-Vanuatu culture, also featured in the entertainment lineup.
Ni-Vanuatu spoke of the importance of the coconut tree, or "mother tree", every part of which is used in households, and the endangered green sea turtle. Ni-Vanuatu are encouraged to take part in preservation programmes, after the traditional practice of eating their eggs was banned.
- The Marlborough Express