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13 January, 2021

“Hi Mama” – Family's tearful reunion after 10 months apart

A Cairns Mum who was separated from her husband and five children for more than 10 months due to the international travel restrictions of COVID-19 has finally reunited with them thanks to the generosity of the Cairns community.

Rejoice Moyo reunites with her three-year-old son Sean at Cairns Airport on Sunday.

Rejoice Moyo sobbed as she greeted her husband Rainous and five children, Emmanuel, 15, Precious, 12, Sandiselwe, 10, Prince, 6 and Sean, 3 at Cairns airport on Wednesday morning.

“I am so relieved, I didn’t realise how much emotion I was holding back all the time,” said Ms Moyo as she fought back tears.

“I’ve been trying to stay normal… but there’s just so much going on inside me and it’s actually a huge relief to finally have this day come, to be with the family, to see them, to touch them, to see my little boy who’s just been asking about his mother all the time. So this is really amazing, I am so, so happy, I’m beyond words.”

Photo: Tanya Murphy

Ms Moyo moved to Australia from Zimbabwe in March last year after being hired and sponsored as a physiotherapist by Pro Active Physiotherapy in Whitfield, with her family booked to follow her at the end of the school term.

Their dream was crushed when COVID-19 lockdowns hit – and when flights finally became available again, the prices had skyrocketed beyond affordability, not to mention the cost of quarantine.

Time was running out as the family were stuck in Namibia, with their Namibian visa set to expire at the end of December.

The despairing Ms Moyo started a GoFundMe campaign in early December to try to cover the travel costs for her family, but the target of $25,000 seemed nearly impossible.

In the nick of time on December 23 the target was reached, thanks to $8570 raised via GoFundMe, and a single donation of $20,000 from an anonymous woman who said she couldn’t stand to see a mother separated from her children.

Since then, things happened in a blur as Ms Moyo’s family flew out of Namibia on Christmas Day, and after an arduous journey via South Africa and Singapore, arrived in Adelaide where they quarantined for two weeks before taking their flight to Cairns.

Photo: Tanya Murphy

Ms Moyo said they were incredibly grateful to the generosity of the Cairns community.

“2020 has been a very difficult year, and everybody else was in a difficult situation and to have people actually give of themselves like that, that was very selfless and very generous. It’s really quite overwhelming,” she said.

“There are many people in the same situation as us, with some still stuck outside, and they can’t get here, so we count ourselves really lucky. And I’m very grateful to everyone who contributed in any form whether financially or in kind. All of it is very greatly appreciated.”

Photo: Tanya Murphy

Ms Moyo said she had worked hard for years pursuing her dream to obtain a skilled migrant visa and job in Australia, to create a better life for her children, and hoped to “pay forward” the community’s generosity in future.

“I would like to go around and speak to young people and tell them if you have a dream and believe in it and work towards it, there will always be someone to support you. And things may be tough in life, but if we really be focused and persevere, our dreams come true.

“It’s all dependent on us, it’s only you as a person that can determine your destiny.”

Photo: Tanya Murphy

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