"PLEASE help our daddy".
That's the plea from three children as they seek financial assistance to fund surgery for their dad who has had a tube hanging from his stomach for the past four months.
The children — Pranita, 12, Pritesh, 9, and Ashmita Goundar, 5, — turned their sad eyes to their dad, Rakesh Goundar as he explained the struggles he's faced since being discharged from Labasa Hospital in May.
His eldest daughter Pranita said: "We want our daddy to get better. He can't work because he's sick and he's struggling to support us and our education."
Mr Goundar had an operation in May and was sent home with a tube hanging from his stomach and a bag attached at the end of the tube which stores bile extracted from the kidney.
"I have had to carry this around with me for the past four months and it is starting to stink. The tube is thinning out and sometimes I feel the bile dripping on my stomach," he said. "I am worried that my stomach might get infected and my medical condition will get worse. I have gone many times to the hospital but they keep telling me to get in touch with headquarters because arrangements for my trip to India for operation are being handled by them."
Health Ministry deputy secretary Doctor Joe Koroivueta had requested that questions be sent to his ministry for comment. The Fiji Times sent the questions last week but there was no response.
The Fiji Times contacted Dr Koroivueta again early this week and because he is currently on tour in Vanua Levu, he asked that a reminder be sent to HQ. No response was received.
Mr Goundar said all the relevant documents were sent to HQ but he still had yet to receive a response.
"It is frustrating because no employer wants to hire me as a result of my medical condition. It is affecting my family because I am the sole bread winner. Now no one is working, so we have to struggle and I can't keep asking neighbours and relatives for food or for my children's lunch to school."
Mr Goundar said prayers have helped him and his family survive the past four months.