Thursday, February 28, 2008
Losalini, mentor for Fiji's youth
Amidst the bad-news stories in the Fiji media, here is one positive story of a beautiful woman, Losalini. I don't know her personally but I know her husband's parents. This is the kind of Fiji woman to mentor the young people of today, a person who is passionate about helping others, working for Habitat for Humanity, and who has worked as a missionary. Way to go Losalini!
Happy to help others by GERALDINE PANAPASA
Thursday, February 28, 2008
You can never be too young or old to dream. For Losalini Tuwere, 43, wanting to become a doctor and a missionary at the age of nine was a spiritual awakening. But later God showed her a direction in her life she took to help others. The human resources manager and program assistant of Habitat for Humanity Fiji has been away from Fiji for almost 22 years serving her missionary work in Hawaii, India, Kenya and Bangladesh.
The desire to help people in need has always been something Losalini strived to achieve. No doubt with her milestone of experience working with less fortunate people, she is one of few people who dedicated their lives to help others. Losalini was born in Nabouwalu, Bua but she hails from Keteira, Moala. She spent most of her childhood days growing up in Levuka, Savusavu and Vanuabalavu because of her father's busy work schedule. Her father, Taitusi Waqainabete was a Fijian magistrate for the Fijian Affairs Board and her mother, Lusiana was a nurse.
Fourth in a family of seven children, Losalini has only vivid memories of her childhood days in Vanuabalavu and Levuka where she stayed with relatives. "We moved around a lot because of my parents' work commitments. Even though we moved around a lot, it was not hard for us because the whole family was still together. I remember most of my childhood days with my relatives in Levuka and also with my grandmother. Our life growing up was community oriented and we lived a normal life. Financial wise, we were secure because our parents were both earning. In those days, we were doing well like any average family.
"I can still remember growing up in Vanuabalavu. Life in the village was like in any other typical village. I used to go with the other girls in my village to catch crabs and fish in the sea. Sometimes, we would even collect coconuts and sell them to the shops nearby just to earn some money. I learnt a lot about working together as a family. My parents were very busy people.
"I attended pre-school at Delana Missionary School and later attended Class One at Nabua Fijian Primary and because we moved around a lot, I attended Class Two up to Class Four at Adi Maopa Primary. For Class Five, I attended Draiba Primary and Form One to Six at Adi Cakobau Secondary."
However, despite all the travelling they did, Losalini believes her parents' hard work and dedication was what kept their family tight-knit. Unfortunately, her father passed away in 1978 and her mother was left to shoulder the responsibility of looking after the family. She said when her father passed away, life was not the same. "My father always took care of the family and when he passed on my mother took it upon herself to look after us. She worked very hard to give us a good upbringing.
"She didn't want us to miss out on anything in life especially when we were all growing up so fast.
"When I was in Form Two, my older sister started working and she helped out with the financial expenses. Sadly, we lost our mother just last year in October after my brother was the first graduate of the All-Rounder Scholarship at the University of the South Pacific. I became involved with the scripture unions in secondary school and in 1983, I heard about Youths with A Mission. I was 17 turning 18 when I made a big decision to do voluntary missionary work. I was at a stage in my life where I was preparing for University but somehow when I was nine years old, I felt God had put it into my heart to become a missionary and a doctor.
"I went for missionary training in Hawaii and then in 1984 I left for India where I stayed for three years. It was a very big challenge because I had to adjust to the lifestyle and the culture. I was so excited at the same time to be able to help those less fortunate and needy in society. During those three years, I was privileged to have made friends in India and the places I travelled.
"After India, I spent 16 years in Bangladesh but in that time, I was able to help a lot of people. It not only changed their lives, but mine as well. Sometimes, when I see the kind of lives they lived in these places, I think we are so lucky here in Fiji," she said.
Losalini returned to Fiji in 2005 with her husband Josua Tuwere. The mother of two is fluent in speaking and writing Bengali and believes her spiritual experience has contributed to her personal development and work at Habitat for Humanity Fiji.