Friday, July 29, 2016

Epeli from Mali Island

Epeli's sleepless nights

Timoci Vula
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
FIJI's Paralympic athlete to the 2016 Rio Olympics Epeli Baleibau is already having sleepless nights.
Definitely not jitters for being a first-timer to the Olympics or having to compete on the world stage.
He is just ready for what he says is his "important mission".
He's mentally psyched up for the competition that begins for him on August 9 at the OLS Olympic Stadium in Rio.
Baleibau will compete in the Ambulant Men's high jump event, coached by Benedito Qumi.
But when he looks back at how far he has come, his faith in God and life's lessons and experiences have played a significant role in changing his mentality to being always positive despite his condition.
Originally from Ligaulevu Village on Mali Island, Macuata, with maternal links to Vuo Village in Labasa, Baleibau lost his right arm in a work accident in 1997 while employed at the Fiji Forest Industries in Malau, Labasa.
Though he could not recall the exact month, he remembers it was a Tuesday and he was working on dock 3 — doing the work of three people (grading, recording data, sawing and treatment).
In the process of pushing a 2x2 timber in for sawing, his hand accidentally slipped into the machine that severed his right limb, just a few inches below his elbow.
He remembers that he lost his limb at 7:45pm that night.
Baleibau said when he pulled his hand out, before he could see it, he told himself that he had lost his right hand.
When he lifted it, he saw it was completely severed.
"So I lifted my arm and walked towards the emergency vehicle," Baleibau recalls in this interview, remembering how his workmates ran after him and bandaged the wound with pieces of cloth before he was transported to the Labasa Hospital.
A keen athlete during his high school days at All Saints Secondary School in Labasa, and a rugby player for the Mali district team, and even for the Macuata provincial club from 1995-96, his world collapsed after that accident.
Fourteen years later, he lost his wife — a high school teacher — and he was left to raise their three children.
They were his world and his inspiration.
He challenged himself that he will always strive to ensure he provided for his children.
That personal challenge saw him reappear into the sporting scene again after 18 years when he approached coach Freddy Fesaitu in 2014 to train for athletics.
In 2015, he made his debut for Fiji in the 2015 South Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
Since September last year, he had been training in preparation for the qualifying competition in Dubai, and now for the Olympics in Rio.
He vividly remembers the competition in Dubai and how that experience had prepared him well in terms of what to expect at the Olympic Games.
Baleibau recalled his numerous failed attempts on four consecutive days to jump 1.65m.
He remembers watching high jump videos given to him by his coach to study the athletes' techniques and skills two days before the competition.
And he surprised his coach on game day when he jumped 1.65m, then 1.70m and his final successful attempt of the 1.74m height. He dropped the bar at 1.80m.
"That day I was so happy because I knew I had jumped the 1.65m qualifying height for the Olympics. I knew I had achieved what I came here for and I want to thank FASANOC and the Fiji Sports Commission for funding me to the qualifying competition in Dubai," the proud father said.
"Now, I'm focused on Rio. This is very important to me because I just want to show to the whole of Fiji how proud I am to represent my country to the world and show them too that Fiji is a unique country."
With his pending participation in Rio, Baleibau said this sent out a strong message to people living with any form of disability that their present situation did not mean the end of the world.
He encouraged his colleagues to take the first step, and even take up sports they loved.
He said sports was not only a stepping stone to achieve great things, it could also open up job opportunities and at the same time open and develop their mind and thinking.
Baleibau said when this happened, there would be less or nil time spent on thinking and feeling miserable about their physical inability.
From a young man who would be embarrassed to show his severed limb, he got over it when he entered the sporting arena in 2014.
Rio mission
Training is progressing well for Baleibau, and his coaches Qumi and Fesaitu.
He thanked them for their spirit of volunteerism; commitment and dedication to ensure he is well prepared for his event come August.
He acknowledged the support from the athletics coaches for training him on the track.
He also remembers the support from his family and his fellow villagers back on the island that have learnt of the great news.
Now, his focus is on enhancing his speed, fitness and finetuning some techniques.
He is also targeting to cut his weight further from 66.13kg to 65 — which he says is his ideal weight if he was to jump higher than his Dubai record.
"So for me right now, I have not been sleeping well in the past few days. I feel like I am already at the Games Village in Rio, which means I know game day is drawing closer.
"Training is much lighter to me now. Whatever training routine my coaches give me, I complete it because deep down inside me, I know the day is fast approaching for me to represent Fiji in Rio.
"I expect to achieve a good result. I will not promise but I am looking forward to achieving a good result and compete on behalf of my country, and to have the world know our country."
For Fijians in Fiji and the world over, Baleibau has urged them all to support and pray for Team Fiji's participation.
"I want to say that wearing a white jersey is not an easy task. It is difficult. There is pain in the training field, you get sworn at and screamed at because of the need for us athletes to achieve our workout in a day.
"That is why I want to ask all Fijians to support and pray for us, and offer us their blessings so we can do our best in Rio."

Sharing wealth

The gospel reading in the lectionary on Sunday - Luke 12: 13-21 - lends itself to some thought on hanging on to wealth and possessions which is relevant in today's world. And here's a modern story that fits.
In Berriwillock, a very small country town in Victoria, Australia,  a group of farmers were thinking about not building bigger barns but of sharing in the bounty when the harvest was plentiful. This is the Berriwillock Wheat Scheme, Every year, when there is not a drought, several Australian and overseas organisations receive a substantial donation from the Berriwillock Church Wheat Scheme. Started in 1953 by Birchip farmer Alan McClelland and a group from the Berriwillock Uniting Church, the group has working bees, donating the machinery and labour to grow 150 acres of wheat. Peceli and I visited one time when about ten tractors were all working on the same block preparing the soil for planting. Alan's son Warrick provided the land on his property, Windarra, and expenses have been kept very low as only seed and fertilizer must be purchased. Apart from the obvious value of co-ordinating organisational effort, the second aspect is that the program model being adopted provides an opportunity for sponsoring organisations with more traditional welfare approaches to participate in a new initiative.
Some years, the crops have failed and the Berriwillock Wheat Scheme that has written cheques for an eclectic mix of charities and causes since 1953 — from land mine victims to schools, hospitals, boats in Fiji, transport for a minister to link up with Aboriginal communities, and groups fighting depression — are unable to make a distribution.
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Monday, July 11, 2016

Macuata the best

from Fiji Times:

Province to be listed as conservation learning site

Luke Rawalai
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
CONSERVATION efforts and initiatives within the province of Macuata have not gone unnoticed as it will soon be listed as a conservation learning site for the country.
Spearheaded by the German funded non-governmental organisation Deutshe Gesellshaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), groundwork into this effort is already in progress.
Speaking during an interview, GIZ's project director, Dr Jan Steffen said this was part of their projects in five other regional countries where they were identifying successful conservation projects which would be known as learning sites.
Dr Steffen said they did not want to introduce a new conservation strategy or concept.
"We are here to build from what we already have and to put them out as learning sites for other areas in Fiji that want to enter into conservation projects," he said.
"Our work focuses on Government's efforts to replicate the very good experience that exists in the country through previous conservation groups.
"GIZ also consults with national stakeholders, local government and non-governmental organisations to identify these sites."
Dr Steffen said from the Macuata experience they would share its successes with other communities to help them wisely manage their own natural resources.

Friday, July 08, 2016

stop over to buy vakalolo on the way to Labasa

Serve or two for you

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Friday, July 08, 2016
IF you happen to travel along the Labasa-Savusavu highway, you will definitely come across Vasemaca Diloaloakubou and Kinisimere Tagicakivanua.
These two women sell their serves of vakalolo for $2 daily to commuters who travel along this stretch of road to help earn themselves a living.
The women are both from Saivou Village in Cakaudrove and this has been a part of their routine for the past four to five years.
By 4am, the women are already in their kitchen preparing their vakalolo to be by the roadside as early as 8am.
Daily commuters and even new travellers are frequently lured into trying out their food.
They sell daily at the Namatayau settlement which is between Macuata and Cakaudrove. The two women sell around 25-30 serves in a day.
Whatever little money earned from this is used for their families daily living and whatever commitments they maybe tasked with from the church and the vanua.
Namatayau settlement is known for its water fountain and people stop there to fill up their water bottles before they continue their long ride either to Savusavu or Labasa.
Vasemaca and Kinisimere have used this opportunity to sell and nearly everyone who stops for a drink at the fountain will buy a serve of vakalolo or two from these women.
Kinisimere said that although they did this on a daily basis, it did not take away their love to be in their plantation or being out at sea fishing when they finished early from selling vakalolo.
Sometimes, by 11am, they are back in the village with their vakalolo all sold out and they are ready to do other household chores and work with other women to do village duties the vanua has asked them to.
It may not be easy for these two women to wake up early in the morning and cook but they are not thinking about leaving it anytime soon because they are earning good money from it.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Labasa Sugar Mill into action

from Fiji Sun:

Labasa Mill Cane Supply Normal After Slow Start

After a slow start the cane processing season, the sugarcane supply to the Labasa Mill has normalised.
Fiji Sugar Corporation executive chairman, Abdul Khan, attributed the slow start to the Vodafone Fiji Fact tournament which led to short supply to the mill.
“The cane supply to the mill have normalised and the reduction of lorries lining up near the mill is due to our ability to process all the cane quickly,” he said.
Other than the usual startup problems that are encountered at the beginning of the season, Mr Khan also confirmed they have had a motor failure.
But, he said they were able to bypass that and crushed as normal.
“We will have the motor fixed and online in a couple of days,” he said.
Other than this, Mr Khan said there aren’t any major challenges this early in the season.
“I think the good rapport between the farmers and ourselves is helping overcome any likely issues being faced,” he said.
As of yesterday morning, the Labasa Mill has processed about 35,000 metric ton of sugar cane.
“Based on our forecast, we should process 655,000 metric ton of cane this season for Labasa FSC mill,” he said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sandalwood in Vanua Levu

Sandalwood is a great source of income as long as no-one cuts down your tree when you are not looking.
From Fiji Times:

Sandalwood nursery

Luke Rawalai
Thursday, June 30, 2016
AIMED at reviving the sandalwood plant in the Lekutu area and generating income for families, villagers in Veiseaseavula witnessed the opening of new sandalwood nursery.
Project co-ordinator Jovesa Ryder said the main aim of the project was to revive the plant which had vanished from the area since the early colonial era.
Mr Ryder said the stock of sandalwood plants they had in their nursery would be divided into two categories.
"The first category of sandalwood will be planted within the surrounding forests and village boundary as part of our efforts to revive the plant," he said.
"In an effort to provide an income generating project for members of the community, the second category of seedlings would be given to community members to plant for their own use.
He said the community was also involved in bee farming as a form of revenue generation."
Meanwhile, assistant divisional forestry officer North, Uraia Racule said the project was assisted by their department through the provision of technical assistance.
Mr Racule said personnel from their Colo-i-Suva forestry research centre had spent some time with the project owners teaching them how to manage their nursery project.
He said communities and villagers could access their assistance for similar community projects by writing to their office in Labasa, adding they also worked with members of the public in reviving other native iTaukei trees.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Now that's what I call a big fish

from Fiji Times:

Early morning catch wows crowd at Labasa fish market

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Update: 10:33AM IT took 14 men to carry a huge Saku fish believed to be around 200 kilograms early this morning at the Labasa fish market.
The catch attracted more than 100 people who rushed to the market to get a glimpse of the fish.

The fish was caught by a group of four young men from Cawaira village in Labasa who went out fishing last night.

Fisherman, Jone Rabonu said they did not expect the huge catch.

"There were four of us in our fishing vessel and all we felt was a heavy load on our big fishing net and to our surprise we found this Saku fish trapped inside," he said.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rabuka? I thought he was retired.

A suprise - that the new head of a political party is Sitiveni Rabuka.  I thought he was tired, retired, but he's been retreaded apparently!
from Fiji Village: Sitiveni Rabuka elected as SODELPA Party Leader

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 24/06/2016  

SODELPA President Ratu Naiqama Lalabalavu has confirmed that former Prime Minister, Sitiveni Rabuka has been chosen as the party leader for SODELPA. 
This has been confirmed after interviews by a panel chaired by former Prime Minister, Laisenia Qarase. 
Ratu Naiqama says interviews were done with Rabuka, Viliame Gavoka, Anare Jale and Ratu Kiniviliame Kiliraki. 
The management board met and a vote was taken after discussions. 
Rabuka got majority votes.
------------------and the consequences - some, like Beddoes, have left the party because Rabuka is the new preseident.  Don't blame him.Rabuka will face challenges – Ro Teimumu

By Semi Turaga
Sunday 26/06/2016

SODELPA’s parliamentary leader Ro Teimumu Kepa
SODELPA’s parliamentary leader Ro Teimumu Kepa has stated that Sitiveni Rabuka will now face the challenge of trying to bring back those who have left because of his appointment as Party Leader.
Ro Teimumu said this will be his main challenge before the 2018 General elections.
She said it was clearly stated in their management meeting that the appointment of Rabuka would cause an exodus of thousands of party members.
Ro Teimumu hopes that the new party leader will also continue to engage with the SODELPA Youth wing.
Many members of the SODELPA Youth wing along with Pita Waqavonovono resigned prior to Rabuka’s appointment.
Ro Teimumu has also called on the party to work together and aim to win at least 36 seats in parliament in 2018.
She said the 2018 election maybe the last fighting chance that SODELPA has to make a difference.