Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Mali Island School and fishing nets

from Wendy

Lusiana Speight wrote an article in yesterday’s Fiji Times about the Mali Island school’s request for fishing nets and the Taiwan embassy’s response. Ask and you will receive! Here is what Lusiana wrote – (adapted, shortened) I wondered about the gift of two containers of candy! What size were the containers?

WHILE students in urban areas enjoy luxuries like the Internet, cell phones, swapping Compact Discs and going to the movies, others around the country can only imagine such fortune.Catching a bus to school each morning in a cleanly pressed uniform and shiny school sandals are something many students could only hear about from their cousins in town. Students from an island school located 30 minutes off the Labasa Coast are used to the hardships they have to endure.

As of last week, I had no idea Mali District School existed. With a roll of about 80 students in classes one to eight, the school relies on the Mali Island's natural resources for its very survival.Head teacher Lawrence Nikotemo wrote to diplomatic missions based in Suva seeking help for the school.He asked not money, but simply for fishing nets.

"Our school is a boarding school and there is a need for nets to help our boarders fish and sell some fish to buy necessities and rations for the boarders," Lawrence said.

From all his letters and persistence, the Kioa man was handsomely rewarded thanks to the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan).Last week Lawrence travelled from Vanua Levu to Suva to receive the much sought after fishing nets from Taiwanese ambassador Sherman Kuo. The school was given a box of 200 fishing nets and two containers of candy for the students.

Selected youths from a nearby village will take the nets out each day to bring back fish to feed the boarders.

"We are working at having surplus fish brought in every day. This we sell to middlemen and use the money for other necessities of the school," he said. "We plan on buying stationery, basic food items like flour and sugar and other resources that we can now afford from the money made from the sale of fish. The villagers on the island are fully dependent on fishing as a source of income.

"The Mothers Club and the Parents Association is in a position to look after the maintenance of the old fishing nets," Lawrence said."The school has a small punt which the Parents Association and the Mothers Club uses to get fish for the boarders, now with these fishing nets, it will definitely be a boost for the school." The school caters for the children from the three villages of Nakawaga, Vesi and Ligaulevu that have sent their children to the school to board.

"We plan to develop the school and to have another boat to replace the small punt.“

On why he wrote to the Taiwanese trade mission, Lawrence said: "Well, I knew that Chinese and Taiwanese people are well-known for their fishing skills and people who love fish. "I knew they would have a soft spot for our request for the fishing nets."

Mr Kuo said,."The trade mission here receives a lot of letters from people, parties, groups and schools every day for assistance," he said. "When I came across the letter from Lawrence, I immediately saw a need to assist."

Lawrence said the school often faced water supply problems during dry weather.The school relies on a borehole for the children's welfare during tough times. "Our next request to other trade mission and to the Chinese Taiwanese mission is for tanks for our children," he said."But that is in the future, we must ensure our fishing project works out before we make other requests."


Pandabonium said...

I always laugh when I hear people in the first world talk about things the "need" or hope for. I am always think of the people in other parts of the world and how much more simple, yet crucial, their needs and hopes are.

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

I always wonder about gift-giving. Perhaps I'll write a post about it sometime. The casino guys who invited Fiji Methodist ministers to Melbourne, the computers given to the Theological College, the current China promise to forget debts by South Pacific states, and as always, tourists giving kids lollies! In this story the fishing nets is just about right!

kapasjelzo said...

Weaving nets could be triing but it's really fun. Good thing you can check them online.