A nice story from Labasa in today's Fiji Times paper and hooray for the Salvation Army who pick up people without worrying about status and background story.
Playing for his dream
By Theresa Ralogaivau
Monday, March 16, 2009
As Ananaisa Watisoni Qereqeretabua marched through Labasa Town blowing into a cornet, he could almost see himself taking a step closer to his dream job which is becoming a music teacher. It's a career that's a far cry from pushing wheel barrows in and around the market area.
He makes good money from it but the 16 year old has his eyes set on teaching the finer art of music.
Ananaisa a member of the Salvation Army Marching Band is in fact a high school dropout. In 2008 he was a Form 4 student at Queen Victoria School but an unlucky turn of events early into the first term of school saw him dropping out. "I was sick for a long time and was admitted at the CWM hospital," he said.
"My uncle from Vanua Levu took me with him feeling that a change of environment and weather would do me good."
"And I did get better but somehow I just never got back to school," he said.
Instead he took to operating a wheel barrow carting service at the Labasa market making as much as $35 a day.
"It was a beginning for me because now that I was out of school my other option was to work hard and try and make a living and help out at home," he said.
One day a pastor came along and invited him on a musical journey that would change his ambitions and probably his life.
"He said he was from the Salvation Army and that they were providing musical training for free," he said.
"But I didn't know anything about music except that which I heard on the radio."
"I didn't know how to play any musical instruments at all but I was interested in learning about it so I happily signed up for training," he said.
The training held over the two weeks early this month taught the 31 children most of whom are high school to read music and to play various instruments.
Ananaisa according to the office in charge of musical training Pastor Veu Jare at the church took naturally to the cornet. "It's a difficult instrument to play but he learnt fast in just 2 weeks," Mr Jare said. "He is now an instrumental player in the Salvation Army Brass Band," he said.
Ananaisa now has a Certificate in Music theory but he doesn't want to leave it at that and wants to continue on learning until he becomes a music teacher.
Like many high school dropouts that belong to the band music is more than just a form of entertainment for Ananaisa. It's a lifeline out of an impoverished life many of these kids are certain to experience having not completed their education. "Now that I have a certificate I'll continue learning until I get my Diploma in Music and than I'll work even harder so that I can teach music," he said. "Sometimes I do think about going back to school but have decided to stick with this because it's something that I am good at," he said.
On days when he isn't fine tuning his skills with other kids at church Ananaisa can be seen pushing a wheelbarrow at the Labasa market, making a dash for buses from far flung locations loaded with crops and competing for runs with other wheelbarrow boys. "I will continue to do this so that I don't get roped in to criminal activities that could happen to me if I am idle," he said. "It's brining in honest money for me and my family and I know that this is not something that I will do forever because I also got my music to focus on."
"Just a little while longer."