ADVERTISER CHRISTMAS FUND
Family hopes for happier times
By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer
Sevensina Namelo had already endured a divorce and the loss of everything she possessed in Micronesia when she seemed to get a break.
She was invited to come to Hawai'i and live with relatives. It would be, she thought, a start to a new and better life — her chance to discover the American dream.
Namelo said what she found instead was more like a nightmare.
She met and fell in love with a young man, Addinia Chueiluk, who suffers from a severe spinal ailment. When her family was unable to hide its disapproval of Chueiluk, Namelo said tensions in the household grew extreme. The stress worsened when the couple had a baby daughter three years ago.
Fearful of what they considered an unsafe and emotionally unhealthy environment, the couple struck out on their own. But Chueiluk, who was limited in what work he could do, was unable to find a job. With no income and a baby to care for, the couple soon became destitute and homeless.
Yet, the two never lost faith in one another or their belief that together they could overcome all hardship. In time, and with the help of therapy, Chueiluk's health improved and he was able to find employment — although the income was still too little for them to find a place to live. Two years ago, Namelo had a second child, a son.
Since then matters have improved. Chueiluk, 23, is still working. They have found living quarters at Weinberg Village Waimänalo. Namelo, 33, expects to start school in the spring at Kapi'olani Community College, where she will study to be a nurse.
Their long-term goal, according to their agency case manager, Charnay Kalama, is to save enough to one day afford their own place. But with two children, Kalama said, their financial struggle is dire. While the family is looking forward to Christmas, they have no money for gifts or extra clothing for the children.
"The 'we can do it as long as we're together' attitude rings true for this family," Kalama said. "They could really use something uplifting to help show them there is hope for their future."
For the present, Namelo said the goal is simple, and basic:
"I just want a happy time with my family and the feeling parents get when they see their children smiling."