BEING a mother of two children suffering from a skin disorder has not been easy for Makelesi Watiwa, who lives in Ligau Village on Kia Island.
After giving birth to her children aged nine and six, Mrs Watiwa learned to build up a certain kind of courage to help her face her children and the skin condition they had.
The bodies of Setaita Kurei, 9, and Tevita Yacadra, 7, are covered with skin layers similar to thick scales that look burnt.
Known as sorosis, the two children cannot play out in the sun and have to stay in cool places at all times.
Sharing her experience as a mother whose heart aches everyday she sees her children, Mrs Watiwa said, the nurses and doctors at the Labasa Hospital begged her to accept her children when they were born.
"When I gave birth and saw my children in a totally abnormal condition, I got scared. I was just so scared because their skin looked like it was made out of plastic and it was the first time for me to see it.
"It was just not normal and very different from my older children and I guess that is why I got scared.
"But I gathered the strength and asked God to give me a heart that will not be scared and love my children more than anything in this world.
"And He has given me that."
Her heart, however, continued to cry out to God hoping that one day some form of medication would be available to treat the condition her children live with every day.
"It's not easy seeing them in this condition and I just hope there is some kind of medical treatment available somewhere that will help relieve the pain they usually experience when they are out in the sun," she said.
"A few months ago, an American woman visited our village on her yacht and she gave me a cream to use on their body and it has been helpful."
But despite the challenges, Mrs Watiwa said, God had blessed them with wisdom, which helped them make wise decisions.
"They are clever children so I thank God for giving them good brains to do well in school."