Our Vanuatu family arrived back in NZ in January 2019, I had the pleasure of greeting Pepetua and little Mathilda at the airport with our ROMAC colleagues. It was so great to see Pepetua’s face light up with a huge smile when she saw me
 
I knew then that we had made the right decision as a club to support them on the second leg of Mathilda’s journey towards wellness.
As many of you know Mathilda came to NZ in October 18 to have cardiac surgery. It became apparent early on that she was not fit enough for her major cardiac surgery as her lungs were very underdeveloped. She had a stent inserted into her major pulmonary blood vessel to widen this and make sure that she could get enough oxygen to her major organs for essential growth. They both returned home to family for Christmas.
A few weeks later they were back again for round two! This trip has been much easier for Pepetua, she has returned to familiar surroundings at Ronald McDonald House and friends from her home country and Papua New Guinea were there to greet her.
 
Hosting Pepatua and Mathilda has been much easier this time as we have had support from ROMAC’s Barbara and Lorraine. Its been wonderful having Lorraine’s support for all of Mathilda’s hospital appointments. We have all build up a lovely relationship with Pepetua and Mathilda. Lorraine and I talk and txt very regularly and keep threatening that we have to meet face to face, but we are still working on that!
 
Mathilda’s surgery went well, but was more complex than initially thought. She did well for the first week but them sucummed to a wound infection and had to go back to theatre to have the infection drained and drainage inserted to keep the would dry. Thankfully she has now made a great recovery from this set back and is now home with mum at RMH. As you can see from our photo’s its been a big journey for us all, especially Mathilda!
 
Thanks to everyone who has supported them with gifts of toys, clothes, pushchair, car seat, visits and more. Mathilda continues to thrive, now she has more energy we are hoping she will start to walk and will be taking a few steps before she goes back to Vanuatu. We still need to fatten her up a bit, so I have been very naughty feeding her ice cream (I promise that I have also been encouraging healthy nutritious foods as well!). I am hoping that next weekend, weather permitting, that a trip to the Zoo on Saturday can happen. If any of you would like to join us for a stroll around and little picnic you are very welcome. Just let me know!
I am hoping that we can all meet them one morning for breakfast and a look around RMH before they go home.
This has been a very rewarding experience for me and the club. I have great admiration for our colleagues at ROMAC and clubs that host families. They are selfless in their time and energy. Hosting Pepetua and Mathilda has taken much more time than I had anticipated but has been worth every minute. As a club I think we should definatly  consider this again in the future, it is certainly a joint effort so thanks to everyone who has been so responsive when I have asked for help.
 
More photo’s to follow so you can follow Mathilda’s progress and recovery.
 
Nga mihi
Elaine