THE villagers of Balebuka in Wailoku have a reason to smile ù they know they and their children will be safe following the construction of a new bridge.
The new bridge was funded by the Australian High Commission and the Prime Minister's office. This new development will ease the daily movement of more than 200 residents. "The major reason for the new bridge were the children," said village official Jo Lauvanua.
"During floods our children suffered because they had to wade in the floodwaters to get to and from school.
"The bridge took less than three weeks for the villagers to build as they know how important the bridge is for the village.
"The old bridge did not help us at all during floods because it was easily flooded," he said.
Mr Lauvanua said apart from the 125 villagers of Balebuka, people from nearby areas used the bridge to access the short-cut to Delainavesi in Lami.
"To hear from the villagers the difference this new bridge means to them is fantastic," said Australia's acting High Commissioner Glen Miles.