APRIL 2016 WESTERDAM VISITS FANNING ISLAND But….

The April arrival of the MS Westerdam to Hawaii before it sailed to Fanning Island was a true blessing to so many people, including Rich Smith the director of Pacific CARE Missions.

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The purposes of helping the many passengers of the Holland America ships that would be sailing to Fanning and hopefully be delivering and donating school, medical and personal items to the residents of Fanning, happened in many ways.

While the ship was in Hilo, a small group of 5 passengers,  pre arranged a tour of the volcano with Rich in the hope to know more about Fanning Island.P1080759P1080752

They heard so much from the driver (Rich), who also passed around many photo albums of Fanning Island that Rich had taken since 2003. There was even an opportunity to play a DVD info video about Fanning in the rented Van  while traveling  on the highway back to the ship. This opportunity to help these passengers could have many benefits as they would be helping to get the word out to others on the ship. The funds for the “volcano tour with Rich” would be used to support the efforts and materials for Fanning Island. As with any mission, food is key and there was a great snack break at the turnaround point of volcano national park.

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They also so wanted to do a run to Wal Mart to buy some last minute supplies to donate to Fanning when they visit there (hopefully). It was determined later that the ship did not get to call on Fanning due to weather and large swells.

The next day, Rich of PCM set up an information table on the Kona Pier and there were so many opportunities to meet with the ship passengers during their visit to Kona before sailing away to Fanning in the evening.

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Even the ship lecturers were able to share their info and get some news from Rich, especially that there is now the possibility that an aircraft will be flying to Fanning from Christmas Island on a charter type basis.

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It was also learned that the ship provided information and collection receptacles for the passengers donations.

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Let’s hope it is not what it looks like!

New updates below from the passengers, are after the ship left Hawaii:

Update #1: news from a passenger 4/13/16

Rich, Hi, just to advise that we arrived off Fanning Island this morning. The weather unfortunately was not good, heavy rain squalls scheduled for the whole of the day and the swell not good either.  As we approached the atoll you could see all, the next minute nothing. The skipper decided on erring on the side of caution and sailed on. I can imagine the disappointment from the Fanning population as they must have been gearing up for this for ages. A disappointment from our perspective as well.

Update #2: news from a passenger 4/14/16
Rich,
Hi again, hope you are well. At sea now for 4 days, 2 to go before we reach Roratonga in the Cook Islands. My understanding is that the donations meant for Fanning Island will now be handed to the Red Cross for distribution there. So although they would have been a good cause for Fanning, some good will come of it being handed to the Red Cross, rather than lost in the melee in San Diego.
Take care, keep up the good work and hope our paths will cross one day.
Update #3: news from a passenger 4/14/16
Just to let you know we missed Fanning Island due to bad weather!!!!!  We also missed Rarotonga today but the ship was able to offload all the donations for Fanning to the Red Cross who said they’d endeavor to get some of it over to Fanning. 

We were not able to safely tender in to Rarotonga this morning, but a tender took in the donated supplies to the Red Cross people in Rarotonga.  We also had to offload passenger with a medical emergency, but other than those two tenders, no one was allowed off the ship.

The Captain advised us that the Red Cross told him that some of our donated supplies would be used in and around the islands of Rarotonga to those in need, and that they would “endeavor to get some of the supplies we donated to Fanning Island.”
That’s all I know.  But I can confirm that all of our donated supplies left our ship on a tender in to Rarotonga this morning.
Everyone was extremely disappointed that we couldn’t get to Fanning Island.  Lots of sad faces that day.

 

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APRIL 2015 STATENDAM VISITS FANNING ISLAND

the following is a testimony from a passenger who had a desire to let us know about her recent visit to Fanning on this cruise. PCM tries to keep the passengers informed about visiting and helping the island on this sailing, and future ones, thru the information shared on this website. Please let me know if you have experiences to share as well. RICH SMITH/PCM Director

Dear Mr. Rich Smith,

It was amazing!  

Yes Sir, we made it onto Fanning.  We almost didn’t, the oceans were rough, we arrived late, the ‘port authority’ was delayed in authorizing us to disembark (likely couldn’t find or wake one) and 2 out of 4 tenders broke down.  My husband and I were at the far back of the long and eager line of all those wanting to go and when I had conceded that I wasn’t going to make it onto the island…miracle of miracles, we were on the next tender over and spent several hours taking in all the amazing experiences and passing out our supply gifts.  The Captain delayed our departure as long as able, it turned out to be a Sunday on the island (though it was Saturday on the ship?).  With school being out that day, I started calling out for a teacher soon as we stepped off the hastily repaired dock.  I found and delivered my school supply packages to the teacher (praying he really was a teacher), then set out to explore.  We passed out things to the church groups singing, some mothers with babes on their hips and lots of the young children that were curiously checking us out.  All were very gracious, one mother that I gave some sewing tools to called her daughter over to show me the dress she had made for her on her sewing machine.  God is good!  Then we asked for the clinic/doctor/nurse/etc. and 3 small children nodded, so we followed.  When our guides trail began to go deeper into jungle-like territory we turned back.  But, our guides persisted and asked ‘doctor?’, pointing farther down the muddy paths through the trees.  So, we prayed and followed and prayed and ‘ta-da’, the Clinic appeared.  Once the nurse was located, we shared our supplies, she was very thankful and told us (in fairly good English) how she helped the ‘momma’s to take care of their babies and their sores’.  As we left another couple approached.  We thanked our little tour guides, tipped them generously and returned to the gathering area.  We swam, sweat, shopped their goods, listened to their songs, drank from their coconuts and took thousands of photos.  What an amazing experience, so hard to even put into words.  As we lined up to return to the ship I saw the fella holding tightly the school supply packages while sitting among the singers on the dock, he hadn’t moved or let go, so I prayed again they got where they were going.  At least he seemed to accept that his package had some purpose.  
As for the ship:  at our stops in the Hawaiian Islands, people were heard at Wal-Mart gathering items for Fanning as they were just now hearing what that port was about.  Kainoa, the ship’s port guide (who was very informative actually, and a native Polynesian/Hawaiian) added to the info you shared with me.  One thing he mentioned was that the islanders told him it often takes a while for the supplies left to be distributed, so the schools and residents welcomed visitors to walk right up and visit, join classes, spend time with them, etc.  Their was a table set up on board the ship for folks to drop off donations and many were accumulating.  Then, on Fanning, next to the post office (the lean-to shade covered table) just on shore from the dock, the ship folk had off loaded about a pallet size stack of well taped packaged liquor boxes full of ‘who knows what’ (perhaps you have an idea), that appeared to be for the islanders.  That is all I know about what the ship did.  Though I asked around, no one seemed to know of any ‘organized’ mission regarding Fanning Island.  Though, perhaps for the best.  It made it real, spontaneous, heartfelt, and sincere, one person to another.    
Then, after we set sail, back on board, the Captain made a special public announcement.  He said that he received a letter from the school on Fanning Island, that he has never before received a letter from them, but that they said they are very thankful for the supplies they received today, and thankful for our visit to their Island today.  I took that as God confirming that everything was delivered to the appropriate place, that needs were addressed, that God was glorified, that worship to our Creator happened even though we all missed the church service that day.  
Thank you for sharing in our joy, kicking it up a notch by sharing your insights.  I hope to return some day, but if I don’t I have new places and people to pray for.  And, I have told the cruise line, in several manners, what a tremendous experience Fanning Island was for us, and to please refrain from altering it, ie. trying to make it a ‘tourist trap’, that it is a precious gem just the way it is.   
I hope that answers you questions at the least, and lets you know how fine a day it was, at the most.  I will say that I do not mind if you share any of this information to future inquirers.  Thanks again for enlightening our paths.  
God bless you

Feb 2015 Statendam sailing

Statendam Feb. 19th 2015 Dick and Charlene DeRosear and Mary and Jack (ole goat) Fried were two sets of passengers who wanted to go on a private tour of the volcano with Rich Smith director of PCM offering to accommodate them.  P1000706 They met shortly after arrival to Hilo pier. One requirement though was they were to talk extensively about Fanning Island and Rich would answer their questions. As is the usual case at end of tour, Rich needed help with getting some of his donated supplies onto the ship and given to a general collection bin that was supposedly made available to the passengers after a daily notice was placed in the passengers daily newsletter. Between 4:30-5:30pm, the ship and security officials allowed Rich to have an area near the ID check inside the pier building. A handful of passengers did see Rich’s HELP FANNING ISLAND poster and met with him to ask questions, tell of their bringing supplies and even offered to take supplies onboard. Many had said they had viewed the PCM website and got much information about what to do on Fanning and how to help by getting more items at various stores on Oahu and Maui before leaving Hawaii to sail to Fanning. Some of the supplies donated by PCM included 100 Children’s Highlight magazines (sponsored by good friend Nancy Goforth)boxed-Highlights2opt100_9824

and delivered to ship by Dick DeRosearP1000722

Over 1,000 packages of sutures, 50 bottles of Lidocaine and other wound care items were also taken on board by Jack Fried seen here carrying onboard 100 Gideons Life Books (book of John) to be used in the secondary school.

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A box of baseball gloves were donated by a 12 yr. old boy named Evan “Step Up to The Plate” ministry in the mainland USA, along with the help of Wayne Smith who personally donated the items to a class at the NCL school pictured here P1000723Fanning class(closing note from RICH: please notice the benches of desks/lack of….) anyone interested in helping get usable classroom desks to these kids????

This is what Wayne wrote to Evan: ” Good morning Evan, My wife and I just returned last night from sailing on the Holland America Statendam to Hawaii and French Polynesia. While we were in Hilo, Hi. I met Rich Smith with Pacific Care Missions and he asked if I would deliver your box of baseball equipment to the children of Fanning Island. I am pleased to tell you that the box you mailed him last April was finally personally delivered to Fanning on February 26th !!!! I met with one of the middle school teachers and his class and told them about your ministry and left the equipment with them. The teacher said he would distribute the larger gloves to the correct age group. I have a photo of the class and will forward it to you soon. My God continue to lead you and bless you in your ministry. Sincerely,Wayne & Sue Lewis, Rock Hill,SC

MANY THANKS AGAIN TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED AND HELPED DURING THIS (AND FUTURE) SAILINGS. RICH SMITH/PCM DIRECTOR

2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

 This blog was viewed about 2,900 times in 2014.

Click here to see the complete report.

Current Fanning Island MEDICAL CLINIC conditions

The first week of June 2014, PCM was blessed to have received video footage of the current Medical Clinic on Fanning Island that PCM has helped over the years and was built by the local council using supplies donated by many special friends of PCM.

One special group of 3 guys, captain Bill Bourdon, Jay Sennewald and MikeMckenna

Pic_0415_117  Pic_0416_125 sailed down on the Alisha June and stayed on the island for about one month. Jay filmed the clinic and did some interviews with the head nurse and a local resident named Ben Oten. When you view the footage here  you will see and understand about the condition and needs the clinic currently has.

It is our hope at PCM, that you may be inspired to help us obtain and deliver a much needed solar/battery storage systems, electrical and lighting materials that can greatly improve the clinic and it’s use, especially when needed during the nighttime emergencies and care. To view a video info/com about this great system and the current funding program needing your help please click here. As Director of Pacific C.A.R.E. Missions, I truly feel this is a much needed and life saving piece of equipment and power system that the medical clinic must get. We really need your help to fund and get this system to the island. It’s hard to believe that this clinic must be in use at night and not have any effective lighting during medical emergencies and the many births they have on the island. Your generous funding would help get the power system there and in use at the most needed of times.

Currently, some primer and white paint is being sent by the SV KWAI to preserve the existing raw wood doors and paneling and to brighten the inside of the rooms.

Before the crew of guys left Kona Hawaii, they were also willing to take over 350 Highlight Children’s magazines and 200 Gideon Life Books to be donated to the island council so they could be used in the local schools.

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It is the Compassionate hearts of people like them that allow people on Fanning to have fulfilled and longer lives. Thanks so much Men! 

 

 

 

 

 

March 11, 2011 Fanning Island Tsunami Effects

John & Joan Hanson, on March 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm said:
My wife and I had an opportunity to visit Fanning Island aboard the MS Rotterdam cruise (11/22-12/22). With all of the recent news coming out of Japan and what we learned about Fanning Island does anyone have any news of the people regarding their situation following the tsunami?

To all concerned, this is an email from a resident on Fanning about what happened during the March 11 2011 Tsunami:

The tsunami hit Fanning in the early hours of Sunday(our time) we were expecting something at about 4.00 am from reports we gathered from a sailing vessel that was in port at the time. The crew of this vessel notified the police chief at about midnight Saturday 12 March. The police then contacted Bruno De la la for more confirmation of this report, that is when Bruno informed me at 1.00 am to confirm this. We checked our sailmail and found that there was a warning from Rich Smith in Hawaii informing us of the tsunami and that it would hit Hawaii at around 2.59 am. Bruno then offered to accommodate my family in his house as he has 2 double story building’s and probably these are the highest you can get here,unless you climb up the breadfruit tree’s or coconut tree’s in the rain and wind which was also blowing at around 20 to 30 knot’s that night. My family decided to take Bruno’s offer of shelter at 3.00 am, I stayed at home to secure whatever need to be, just in case something did happen. At around 4.00 pm I went to the ocean side of the island of Weston point to see if there was any change in the sea level it was quite hard to tell as the tide was low at the time. At 5.00 am I decided that by now the tsunami had passed and we returned home. My vhf radio was on channel 16 and 72 for any further updates from the sailing vessel in port, which had also moved out of the lagoon upon receiving the tsunami warning. In port also was a local freighter that remained at anchor in the lagoon during this period. At around 6.00 am I could hear chatter on channel 16 from this local freighter I could not understand what they were saying as it was in chinese but they did seem panicky at the time.(chinese officers) That is when the tsunami had reached Fanning. The water in the lagoon was being sucked out of the channel at great speed causing the freighter to touch bottom at it’s anchorage and to list on one side. This happened several times during the early morning of Sunday. Also during this surge the seaweed farm’s from Torea Torea point to Putatu point suffered considerable damage, this area had mile’s and mile’s of seaweed patches which were washed out into the lagoon and probably out the channel. Now there is nothing there but clear patches of sand where before it was just seaweed cultivations. That morning people were saving as much seaweed as they could and were on the beach hauling seaweed ashore then all of a sudden the water would be gone this caused the people to move further out to collect then suddenly the water would start rushing back and these people would drop what they were doing and start running back to the beach. This happened for most of the Sunday morning. The rainy season we have now is not helping in the drying of this seaweed which could cost thousand’s of dollars for the farmers. No lives were lost or hurt during this period,this is first time that we have felt the wave’s damage and force compared to other tsunami warning in the past. Tekeraoi,Tyrone

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2013 and 2014 STATENDAM Cruise Sailings to Fanning Island

Posted Dec 26-2013 and Feb 24-2014, on these days while the Statendam was at Kailua-Kona Hi. before sailing to Fanning Island, Rich Smith the Director of PCM was able to be on the pier to communicate to passengers before they sail to Fanning Island. Over most of each day, a couple dozen passengers visited the area where a table was set up and photo albums were made available to view. Many questions were answered and suggestions made how to help Fanning when they visit there (hopefully). Also, the passengers were told about getting on the island truck tours as the most beneficial and relaxing way to tour the main part of Fanning Island.
At times some of the passengers came to the table to mention they had brought onboard many school supplies and even extra clothing to give to the people of Fanning and would be giving the items to the ship to be delivered or by personally giving to the people while they tour the island.
Many boxes of children’s HIGHLIGHT magazinesboxed-Highlights2opt that were donated by the publishers and the shipping sponsored by a couple friends, were willing accepted to take onboard by a couple traveling on the ship, and helpers George and his wifeHelpers George and wife offered to get them to the island. We have heard that those 2 boxes of magazines were delivered on the Dec 2013 sailing by them and were well received. We also have heard the 4 other boxes on the Feb 2014 sailing seen below arrived too. Here is a reply from the Fanning Island Project Officer on Fanning:

“Thank you so much for your wonderful donation we received during your last port here (Statendam Cruise 28/2/2014) in Fanning Is. My CEO and Mayor have distributed such donations to all schools, clinics and more. Thank you so much again, and hopefully, the Island Council on behalf of its people will receive more donations/aids from your side”.
Kam rabwa ao tekeraoi.
Fanning Island Project Officer

Also, many books that were collected by the various passengers were delivered to the MTSS Secondary school library on the other island across the channel. Here is an email message from one of the school teachers: Haloa,”This morning books from the council arrived to our school, MTSS. The school was proud of it and are now stamped for MTSS library. They would bring joy of reading and most knowledge to students of the Line islands. Gift of donation are God’s gift. Blessed to those who are involving in donation process and mostly those have spent much for HIM for the sake of others.
Thank you for such care. Our prayer will always in words of thankfulness, Thank you”

We are currently ordering about 7-10 more boxes for the April 2014 sailing. About 3 couples on the Feb sailing donated $10 each to sponsor the future boxes and one friend has as well. Many thanks for everyone’s willingness and compassion to help. Below are pictures of the passengers who assisted in getting the magazines and some donated T shirts onto the ship.




If you have an interest to sponsor any of the future copies of HIGHLIGHT magazines that we want to get to the Primary schools on Fanning Island, please contact us here at PCM. Each box of 50 costs only $10 thanks to the publisher donating them and only charging for the shipping. We definitely need anyone’s help to get them in Kona and get them on the April sailing to be delivered to Fanning. Would you be one who can help?

The following is a comment received from one December passenger regarding helping Fanning in other ways. I hope this will inspire and speak to you as you prepare to travel to Fanning Island: “I was on the Statendam, recently met Rich on the pier in Kona. After talking to him, I spent the next two days gathering every usable item that I could to give to these people. I had so much stuff that I had to make two trips ashore. I dedicated my day to going shack to shack donating and teaching them of the items I had. Tide laundry pods, they had no idea how to use, they loved magazines, flashlights, bar soap, one woman asked me for a book, I had one called “Guilty Wives” bought it in the Atlanta Airport! Shampoo, lotion, conditioner, I had to teach them how to use cereal boxes and add milk. Even taught three young kids how to skip on the dusty trails. This was by far the highlight of my cruise. I can go to the beach anytime, can these people get our help anytime???????

Give of yourselves, they are so appreciative. Give any item you don’t need. Go to their homes, ASK if you may come in, I was most welcome. They enjoyed my time, however I had to go seek them out. I found that some just don’t come out to meet the ship. They were really grateful for my visit and my time. Go off the beaten path, it will be the most rewarding experience of your life. Its safe, no worries.

I hope I am fortunate enough to visit again”.

NEWS FLASH: Report from a passenger who visited Fanning on the Sept.2013 Statendam sailing to Fanning Island: For Rich…the islanders supplies were delivered. I think medical supplies and new shoes would be a good idea for the next trip. The children are so happy and carefree. The adults seem content and happy as well. We were proud to meet and visit the island. to see their write up and pictures visit: http://www.mytripjournal.com/travel-756248

Updated 3/5/14:
It is official that the Statendam will now be calling on Fanning Island and not Christmas Island during the April and December 2014, and February 2015 cruises. That is great news that more items the passengers can obtain and process will hopefully be delivered to Fanning Island.
The November 2012 sailing couldn’t deliver to Fanning due to high winds and wave action. Unfortunately the February 2013 Statendam sailing could not deliver to Fanning Island as well and they donated the many supplies to a ministry in San Diego.

For those who are wondering about the reason why the supplies from the previous Statendam cruises did not get offloaded to Fanning due to bad weather, unsafe offloading/loading conditions and having to pay extra if they were to…here is the post that Captain Albert wrote that day explaining the situation.
“In the back of my mind there was of course the plan we had for donations for the island. We had items on board from the beginning of the cruise and the guests had been very active in increasing those donations quite a lot. It is not something that influenced my decision; SAFETY COMES FIRST AND NOTHING ELSE, but I wondered if I could do something. I could not. In order to get the donations ashore, the ship needs to be cleared. Those are the rules. When we clear the ship, the local authority is entitled to the port taxes $ 10,500 in this case. When I am not sending guests ashore due to weather etc. all guests are entitled by law to get their port tax back, as it is not a part of their cruise ticket, but a government added cost. (The only exception is if I would substitute one port for another) Thus that would be another $ 10,500 so we would be facing a total bill of $ 21,000 to get these boxes ashore. That of course is something I cannot do and there is no legal way around it”.

For now, please read up about visiting Fanning and how to help on the upcoming sailing. Visiting the Latest News page will be best to see past writeups and pictures of help to the island.

During the April 2012 Volendam sailing we had a unique opportunity to hear from a lady born on Fanning and raised there till she was 18 years old that I think will help you greatly to hear how life was on Fanning in the 40’s. Click here to see this special video interview.

I am also including on this post, a letter from a special passenger who visited Fanning some time ago on a NCL ship. Hopefully this will give you some information, insight and inspiration about the need to get involved before we won’t be able to again. Your sailing can mean so much.
Please contact me if you have an interest to help take a few very important items to the island for us. I would meet you in Kona before you sail to the Island. Hope to hear from you all! RICH / Director of Pacific CARE Missions

Letter from BELLE:
“RICH,
I found you by reading your response to someone wanting to help, on the FANNING ISLAND website itself. I’m so grateful I found you, an answered prayer really.

In 2008 when I had a ruptured brain aneurism, a miracle happened for me. Not only didn’t I die, but I never suffered any blindness, lose of mobility or speech. Nothing at all. Due to my age and diabetic status, I must be really careful. But I believe I was spared to try to spread the word about the conditions on FANNING, and to try to get help in any way I can. I promised the people of the island, that as long as I was alive, I would never forget them, and I will never stop telling the world about their needs.

A long time ago a letter I put on line begged for someone to step up and do what I could not, namely organize relief for these beautiful people. I got replies from all over the world. Then I heard about the doctors and church members taking help to FANNING. It was so wonderful. Someone had read my letter that REALLY was in a position to help. I never cared who got publicity or the thanks , only that this remote, glorious, PARADISE be SAVED in time.

When I visited FANNING, most of the passengers never left the beach. I went with 3 suitcases of school supplies and balls for the children. Bought it all here in Florida, and took it to Hawaii and then on NCL cruise. People who saw me getting off with all that stuff said “how did you know what to take”. Well, right here in the U.S.A. our teachers often buy supplies for their classroom, out of their salary. This island is at sea level, and every time there is a storm, the little they have is destroyed. I also took large sheets of plastic for the school to try to protect the little they did have.
NCL should have been ashamed to put their name on what had to be the worst so-called SCHOOL I had ever seen. My daughter is a DR. of EDUCATION and FOREIGN LANGUAGE. She works at Queens College in NEW YORK. She travels all over our country setting up programs for Language. She said, in all her trips to even the poorest of schools, nothing came close to NCL primary School on FANNING ISLAND. They have no maps, no posters, no globe, nothing to display on the walls. I cried when I thought how we take everything for granted. The teacher at that time is no longer there, but I have a treasure from her. She removed her own necklace from around her neck and put it on my own. I don’t own another piece that I cherish more, than this simple beautiful gift. We knew we would never meet again, and I hugged this proud, humble lady as close as I could.
I sat in the house of a lady who made her husband go up a tree to cut down a fresh piece of fruit for me. There was a pile in the yard, but she had him go up the tree for me. The floor was dirt with a cot and hammock, very little else. But she gave me, a complete stranger, all she had to offer. We did not speak the same language, but we understood each other. When I was young I was a ballet dancer, and later formed my own children’s theatre. I sang to her two children and gave them a ball of their own.
The people from my cruise, who did not leave the beach, missed the most wonderful experience by not going out among the people. The children and their parents were the real gift the island had to give. It is a paradise, beyond beautiful, but the faces of the people and their generous hearts are beyond words. Not a single day goes by, that I don’t think of them. So far away, in the middle of an ocean. They don’t need us to change them, only to help them with basic human needs. Their little children are in need of decent health care, so that when they get a cut it won’t get infected, which so often happens there.
BLESS ALL WHO REMEMBER FANNING and in even the smallest way, take away the hurt”. Love Belle