Sunday, September 30, 2012

The John Hunt translation

from w
Yesterday Peceli and I were delighted to be part of the St Marks Chadstone Uniting Church program - worship which included friends from four congregations, a hearty lunch, a chance to meet up with old friends, make new friends, and a presentation by Dr Andrew Thornley from Sydney concerning the John Hunt New Testament.  Some photos of the afternoon are posted here.  One of the photos includes Christine Sorenson who is a Formations Director at United Faculty in Melbourne. Andrew's wife, Rev. Carolyn pictured wearing the beautiful liturgical scarf made by Rev Eseta of Bendigo is also a Formations Director.  That is a crucial role in training ministers apart from their academic studies. Dr Thornley has a website which is http://fijimethodisthistory.blogspot.com.au







Rev Iliesa Naivalu has copies of the book which will enrich readers by comparing the current Fijian Bible with the excellent one made as early as the 1840s, a remarkable achievement by John Hunt and helpers Noa and Litia. Thank you to Dr Thornley for the initiative to make this available to modern readers. Contact details for Rev Iliesa are by phoning 0432 531748 or email inaival2000@yahoo.com  I was surprised that the text is so readable and instead of looking archaic it seems quite accessible to readers.

A funeral in Navuso

George's photos from Navuso including Jordan and Andrew, our grandsons dressed in masi for a ceremony at the funeral of their Fijian grandmother, Loata, in Navuso. George and the boys flew to Fiji last week at two days notice. It is currently school holidays for the boys so it was possible to take a week in Fiji and to reconnect with their relatives at this sad time. Some of their Labasa relatives came down to Suva also, Ateca, Boso and Talei. More photos can be added later.




Monday, September 24, 2012

East Geelong Uniting a church in Australia with Fiji connections


Currently updating information regarding our family church in Geelong, here is the new website which is being constructed at present so there is more information and photos to add. Some Fijian migrant families have been connected with this church for over thrity years and currently the minister is a Tongan, Rev Ikani Vaitohi.  Peceli was the minister here for nine years and we now are retired but still living in the East Geelong area. Our church is called the East Geelong Uniting Church.
http://www.eastgeelongunitingchurch.org.au/ 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Farewell to Adi Rarere

from w
Ten days ago we were saddened when Adi Rarere passed away at Bethlehem hospital in Caufield, Melbourne.  We had visited her in the middle of that day and she seemed peaceful and acknowledged our visit nicely. Our condolences go especially to Robert, Tutu and Ben.  We attended the gathering at Robert's home on the Friday night and some of our family went to the special Memorial Service at Brighton on the Sunday. Now Adi Rarere is home in Bua and the family have gathered there for the funeral.  Loloma to them all and we are grateful for knowing this lovely senior lady.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The way the world ought to be?

from w
Kate and Will were treated like royalty (ha ha) on their visit to Tuvalu, the little Pacific island group where the sea levels are rising. Lovely people, hospitable, and friendly. Looks like it was a good time for all. Though of course underneath it all is the knowledge of the urgency of this cultural group finding a new home if the waters do rise much further.  And there's always the thing about class - those up there, and those ordinary folk paying the bills.







Monday, September 17, 2012

Paying off the water rates arrears

from w
It was with astonishment that I read that the current interim government has decided to let millions of dollars of arrears  lapse - about $16,000,000F!  Is this fair when you realise that some people have paid their debts and now others do not have to search for the needed cash.  What is the motive for doing this?  Of course it's a lovely gift for those whose names come up, but it's an awful lot of money which is much needed for fixing roads, schools, medical needs, and for fixing the water pipes!

Fiji government announcement it will pay water bills could be “vote buying” – Professor

Posted at 02:01 on 18 September, 2012 UTC
A professor of Pacific history says the interim Fiji Government’s offer to pay the water bills of 25 thousand Fijian households, businesses and schools appears to be a vote buying exercise.
In a statement the government says it is forgiving eight million US dollars in unpaid bills, a decision it says will benefit about 100-thousand Fijians.
Professor Brij Lal, from the Australian National University, questions if the regime can afford to pay the bills.
And he says there will be lingering suspicions about the motive for going ahead with such a move.
“I suppose they might see this as a voter pleasing exercise and I suspect as time goes on as we reach closer to the elections in 2014 that you will see more promises, more policys like this to endear the regime to the people of Fiji.”
Professor Brij Lal says the announcement is good one for ordinary Fijians who are living in difficult economic times.
News Content © Radio New Zealand International           PO Box 123, Wellington, New Zealand

Goodness gracious me!

from w
'Oh my goodness, you too!'
I wonder what the princess is thinking as she is greeted by the comely lass in the Solomon Islands.  No wonder she is laughing. What a hoohah though about those photos in France etc. Should just laugh about it. In another culture it's the norm to show your breasts.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What the Fiji children say

from w
I was delighted to read letters in the Fiji Times from students at the school in Pacific Harbour about their concern for the environment. Very good.  And then, they have given their submission to the groupof people appointed to make up a new Fiji Constitution. A better submission than some.

Students make submission for protection of environment
Publish date/time: 15/09/2012 [17:09]
The environment also needs to be taken care of.

This was a concern raised by students of a multi-cultural school in Pacific Harbor while giving in their submissions to the constitution commission in Navua yesterday.

Commissioner Dr Satendra Nandan said out of all the submissions received this was the most interesting one as the students had done a lot of research on their submission and were concerned for their surroundings.

Also people of Navua made their submissions on ensuring transparency of government funding and freedom of information for everyone.

The public consultations will resume from Tuesday at Koro Island.


Story by: Khusboo Singh

Respect your environment
Save the planet
MY name is Anaseini Bovoro and I am a Class Five student at Pacific Harbour Multi-Cultural School. Students of PHMCS are trying their best to clean the beaches, but we still find rubbish on them.
We are polluting the sea with plastic bags and rubbish. We know that turtles and other marine creatures think they are food. We have to save our mother earth by not polluting it with a lot of rubbish in the sea. I am disappointed how people are not respecting their environment.
It's time now, we need to use bio-degradable bags, to change our world and to and to help Fiji to have pollution-free land and sea. Please visit these websites www.biobga.com.au or www.eco-pal.co.nz. It is time Fiji only uses bio-degradable landfill plastic bags. Vinaka.
ANASEINI BOVORO 
Pacific Harbour
Say no to plastics
MY name is Natalie Simpson. I am a Class Eight student and a prefect of Pacific Harbour Multi-Cultural School.
Whenever I go to town or to the beach with my parents or with my friends I always see plastic bags and juice bottles everywhere I go and it makes me upset and disappointed because it spoils our environment and it kills our sea creatures and that's bad.
Even the students and teachers are telling me how upset they are with the plastic pollution and I agree to that. They are telling the truth and it doesn't help us to save our environment. We must say no to all plastic bags that are not bio-degradable.
If you are willing to save our environment please get bio-degradable bags because they do not harm our environment. Bio bags vanish easily that's why I like them. Please get bio bags and go to 1. www.biobag.com.au or 2. www.eco-pal.co.nz. I hope you change your mind! Please reply to me. Vinaka.
NATALIE SIMPSON 
Pacific Harbour
Save our turtles
MY name is Kasa Saubulinayau. I am the head boy of Pacific Harbour Multi-Cultural School which is located in Pacific Harbour, Deuba. My fellow students and I are disgusted and concerned about the use of plastic bags here in Fiji. You may think that plastic bags don't affect us and the environment. It has a huge effect to the environment, the land and the sea.
Plastic bags are affecting the land by its dirty look and pollution, as well as the same in the sea. Plastics are much more dangerous to the sea because it is possible for plastic bags to also kill sea creatures.
For example, a turtle may be mistaken by a plastic bag being a jelly fish. If a turtle eats a plastic bag, there is a possibility that the turtle may choke and die.
Our country (Fiji) should be ashamed for we care less about the environment. Other countries like the Cook Islands and the Solomon Islands care more about the environment by using bio-degradable plastic bags which do not affect the environment. We should also care about the environment for it provides us with our needs or resources. Let's help our environment and use bio-degradable plastic bags. Some websites of where you can get bio-degradable plastic bags are: www.biobag.com.au or 2) www.eco-pal.co.nz.
Let's save and help our environment and use bio-degradable plastic bags.
KASA SAUBULINAYAU 
Pacific Harbour
Stop pollution
MY name is Ethan Vailasi and I'm a Class Seven student of Pacific Harbour Multi-Cultural School. My school and I are really worried about the use of plastic bags in Fiji. The way people in Fiji use plastic bags is so disgusting because they throw their plastic bags everywhere and sometimes the bags end up in the sea.
This affects the sea creatures like turtles they are mistaken by eating plastic bags and they think it is jelly fish. And when turtles eat it they can choke themselves and die.
Some suggestions on how we can stop these dangers from happening is by using bio-degradable plastic bags. These are some addresses on how to get bio-degradable plastic bags are: www.biobag.com.au or www.eco-pal.co.nz.
Ethan Vailasi 
Pacific Harbour
Rise above plastics
I AM prefect at Pacific Harbour Multi Cultural School and I am writing to you about the plastic bags pollution in Fiji. We are so fortunate to live in such a beautiful island, but we are not taking care of it properly.
It is amazing how its so dirty with plastic bags of different colours and sizes all over the beaches, in towns, along the highways, streets and rivers.
There is a solution to everything and here is one for the plastic bags. I'm introducing to you these bio-degradable plastic bags.
Other countries in the world are using bio-degradable plastic bags to save our environment. We in Fiji should use them too.
The address were to get this bio-degradable bags from is: 1)www.biobag.com.au or 2) www.eco-pal.co.nz
You can get some from New Zealand and Australia.
Please get them and save Fiji.
MANON HUFFER BOIVERT 
Pacific Harbour
Stop littering
I AM a prefect of PHMCS, my name is Hannah Harness and I've lived in Fiji all my life.
I am worried about our country and the pollution problem. I am writing this letter to you because I wish to complain about the rubbish on the beaches and I have an idea how to solve this problem.
I would like to stop the littering problem because the plastic bags are floating in the sea and fish, turtles and other sea creatures are thinking they are food so they eat them and die.
This means less food for us. I suggest you get land fill de-gradable plastic bags from these websites www.biobag.com.au or www.eco-pal.co.nz and put more rubbish bins on the beaches and levy appropriate fines.
Thank you, I hope you help us make a change and save our earth.
HANNAH HARNESS 
Pacific Harbour
Time to act is now
MY name is Christina Naugavule, the head girl of Pacific Habour Multi-Cultural School.
My school is located near the beach and beside our school we have a tropical rainforest which we are trying our best to preserve.
Pacific Harbour Multi Cultural students are the best examples of environment workers or the environment forces.
We have been trying our best to clean and look after our beach, but still our help isn't enough to save our country's pollution to the environment.
Our head teacher and also environmental studies teacher has just returned from her trip to the Cook Islands.
She told us about the environment in the Cooks. Cook Islanders are using bio-degradable plastic bags and aren't allowed to use any other ordinary plastic bags.
If you want to help save the environment like us Pacific Harbour Multi-Cultural students, we suggest that Fiji should also use bio-degradable plastic bags.
To find out where to get these bio-degradable plastic bags, you should look it up on this websites: www.biobag.com.au or www.eco-pal.co.nz
Please, we need your help to save our Fiji environment and by doing this you're not only helping the Fiji environment but the world too.
Christina Naugavule 
Pacific Harbour

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Delana's welcome back

from w



It's amazing how hyped up Fiji is about Iliesa Delana as a hero now, when you consider how difficult his training program had been.  No hype those days, and very little money to help with his training program.  Congratulations of course go to Iliesa for his achievement in gaining a gold medal at the Paraolympics in London, but it is interesting how the program upon his return to Fiji is full of things such as inspecting a line of soldiers - which certainly hasn't got much to do with athletics. Everyone getting on the bandwaggon of achievement of one guy.  Where are the other disabled youth, men and women in the photo shoots?  Will this achievement mean more people with special needs will be giving good opportunities?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A thoughtful submission

from w
Here is part of the ideas presented by members of Fiji's Catholic community where there is good sense and idealism regarding the writing of a constitution.
From Fiji Village tonight:
Catholic Church recommends Covenantal Chapter in new constitution
Publish date/time: 12/09/2012 [17:07]
The Catholic Church of Fiji has recommended to the Constitution Commission that the new constitution should have a Covenantal Chapter.

While making the church’s submission, director of the Catholic Education Board Remesio Rogovakalali said the chapter should comprise the shared principles that all Fiji citizens agree to guide and govern the political, social, cultural and the economic life of the country.

The church recommended that the acknowledgement of God as creator of humans, human dignity, common good, diversity, social justice, equality, freedom and rule of law are to be part of the Covenantal Chapter.

The Catholic Church has also recommended that a provision should spell out the clear separation of the state and religion while recognizing that religion and civil society have a crucial monitoring function in ensuring the transparency, accountability and responsibility of government towards our people.

The church recommended a chapter on political representation and participation, and to include a system of political representation and participation that does not disenfranchise people into ethnic boundaries, fear and prejudice but one that unites people with a common purpose and vision.

The Catholic Church recommended that elected political leaders and government institutions account directly to their constituencies and stakeholders by a Code of Conduct and not only to their political parties through systematic consultation and reporting.

In their submission, the Catholic Church said there should be social protection of i-Taukei land and minority groups from exploitation, while at the same time affording security of tenure and ensuring that land required to be utilized by the i-Taikei at the end of the tenure revert to the i-Taukei.

The Catholic Church also believes that the military should not play any part in political governance.

In this regard, the church reaffirmed the recommendations in the People’s Charter that the military’s role be realigned to include human security and enhance the RFMF community development partnership by strengthening its developmental role to ensure that its professional, technical and social potential is fully realized.

The Catholic Church also said that the church defends the belief that marriage is between a man and a woman, in free consent, with the knowledge that each is responsible for the other and the children that they will bring forth into this world.

In this regard, the church does not want and will not support same sex marriages and abortion.


Story by:
 Vijay Narayan

Hero Delana arrives home in Fiji

from w
Iliesa Delana, the Fijian high jumper who won a gold medal has arrived back in Fiji to a hero's welcome. It's a sign of a responsible society when men and women with disabilities are given special chances to shine. Vinaka to his coach and supporters.


From Fiji Village
It’s good to be home - Delana
Publish date/time: 12/09/2012 [17:38]

As the whole of Fiji continues to sing praises for golden boy Iliesa Delana, for him it is just good to be back home.

After a long trip from London to Sydney and now to Fiji, Delana received the warmest welcome at the Nadi and Nausori International Airport.

Delana now awaits a big celebration that has been planned for tomorrow and the Nadrala villager said he wants to enjoy these moments to the fullest as this is the most happiest time of his life.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen.

Students braved the rain as they marched from outside the Nadi International Airport arrival lounge with an ardent rugby supporter commonly known as Bu Kini.

Bu Kini was holding a Fiji flag and a small banner which read “I love Iliesa Delana”.

Fijivillage also spoke to some fans at the airport.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen.

Delana is currently resting at the Holiday Inn.

Tomorrow, the Fiji Police Band and Police Guards will escort Delana through the main streets of Suva where the march will end at Albert Park at 9.30am before Delana is taken to the Vodafone Arena for the celebration.

Delana will be joined by students from schools within Suva, members of the Digicel 7s Rugby team, Fiji Olympians and students from special schools.

At the Vodafone Arena, Delana will be received by a 50 man Guard of Honour, followed by a full Fijian ceremony of welcome where President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau will make a brief speech.

The government is calling on all Fijians to join the celebrations at the Vodafone Arena.

Meanwhile, Digicel Fiji’s Head of Marketing Sheryl Singh said they will reveal their reward for Delana after tomorrow’s celebration as they need to hold talks with him.


Story by:
 Dhanjay Deo, Akuila Cama & Filipe Naikaso

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Women's Day in Mali

from w



A special day at Ligalevu village Mali drew many women from around Labasa and by the look of the photos our relatives from Vatuadova posted, it must have been a good day. Here are some of the photos.

The roof is now on

from w




Our relatives from Vatuadova village have worked hard this year in their building program and now a fine blue roof has been installed onto the new church.  Even though the wooden church is only 14 years old and still stading there are just too many people to fit them in.  Not only the Ratawa family has grown but some families from Labasa town like to come out to the village on Sundays. One of the girls posted many photos on facebook so here are a few of them.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Vinaka Peter for building Koroipita

from w
Our local Rotary clubs are also involved in work camps and donations to help this housing settlement out of Lautoka. Thanks go to Peter Drysdale in Lautoka for his vision, passion and commitment.  If the government of the day doesn't help a lot with low-cost housing, then people with vision and energy do it.  Peceli has visited Koroipita a few times and I've been there also.  It's a great project.
From today's Fiji Times..



The unsung heroes of Peter's village

Felix Chaudhary
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
AFTER working for 22 years planting pine trees and another 20 odd years at the helm of Williams and Gosling Limited, Peter Drysdale is loosening his tie for semi-retirement.
But far from putting his feet up or lazing around in a hammock in tropical paradise, Drysdale's idea of relaxation involves work and he intends to spend his time totally immersed in his passion - building homes for the neediest, the marginalised and the underprivileged.
A "hobby" that began 27 years ago with one home has since metamorphosed into a passion that's been the driving force behind the construction of 851 dwellings housing 3660 people so far.
"You can call me a compulsive workaholic if you want," Drysdale informs me while seated at his executive director desk in Lautoka. The irony of his situation is not lost on work colleagues and peers.
Drysdale's idea of semi-retirement is spending one day a week as executive director at Williams and Gosling while increasing the time spent on his real love - the completion of Stage 2 of Koroipita — the second suburb of a city of former squatters, single mothers and displaced families that he helped establish and which bears his name.
It all began in 1985 in the aftermath of two devastating cyclones — Eric and Nigel — that swept through the country and wreaked havoc in the Western Division leaving thousands homeless.
"There was mass destruction everywhere, in rural areas and the city," he says.
"I had only just joined the Rotary Club of Lautoka at the time and we met and discussed what sort of relief efforts we could mount and everyone came up with the usual of buying and distributing groceries.
"I told them that from my experience in the pine industry the priority for rural families is cyclone proof shelter."
Despite calling the project too ambitious, the Rotary Club took heed of his advice and built one home for one family through funding from an overseas donor.
"We documented the process very thoroughly and reported back to the donors and a second donation came through which resulted in us building a second home. Before long we were building one house a week in an area that ranged from Sigatoka right through to Viti Levu Bay."
However, a disturbing trend began to emerge. As quickly as the Rotahomes were being built for needy families in squatter settlements, landowners and slum lords were forcing the speedy eviction of the poor and raking in easy dollars by putting in working tenants and charging rent.
"We found that the families that lived in them — for one reason or another — would abandon the house and landowners would immediately place residents in the homes and collect rent from them. After several tense confrontations with slum lords when we tried to retrieve our property, I realised that we needed a better way to address the housing issue," Drysdale says.
He adds that one of the biggest contributing factors to the continuing poverty of people living in squatter settlements is the constant harassment by slum lords and land owners — banging on doors, harassing residents and demanding money at whim.
"This is apart from the formal or agreed rent and this just drags victims down further."
Drysdale knew that the only way safe shelter could be guaranteed was through the establishment of secure subdivisions — built for the purpose of providing housing for those who could not afford construction or access to land.
"I thought if we were to break the cycle of squatter settlements where people were being consistently exploited while genuinely seeking a better life — then we would have to build our own subdivision," he says.
Koroipita was constructed after securing a 99 year lease from Mataqali Matarasiga of Vitogo. Aided by Rotary Clubs overseas and in Lautoka, Stage One of the model town with 85 homes was completed four years ago and Stage Two is currently a work in progress.
"1250 volunteers have served at Koroipita in the past nine years," Drysdale says.
"And we now get 350 volunteers a year who come and serve for two-week terms at a time from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Some are retired or near retirement but we are also getting younger people from Habitat for Humanity in the US and we're increasingly getting high school and technical school college students from Melbourne and even international students from Hong Kong have started coming in."
While overseas volunteers have been quick to put their hands up and spend thousands of dollars to travel to Fiji and take an active role in the project, the response from the local community has been lukewarm at best.
"No students from local schools have volunteered apart from a team from the International School Nadi but that was years ago. However, full credit must go to Tony Whitton and his crew. Every long weekend a team comes from Rosie Holidays and Likuliku Resort and they build a house at Koroipita and occasionally people from Sonaisali Island Resort and other resorts join them."
Drysdale's dream to provide housing for the needy will soon result in the construction of more dwellings to increase Koroipita to 300 homes supporting a population of 1200 needy residents. Also in the pipeline is the planned construction of an environmentally-friendly sewerage treatment plant, a firewood plantation and community agriculture plantations.
At $1 a day, Koroipita has set the platform for affordable, safe and secure housing for the underprivileged. As Drysdale points out, the fee covers the cost of lease payments and also paid for kindergarten education for children, security services provided by two patrolmen at night, water, garbage removal services, house and road maintenance and adult education programs. Residents only have to pay for the use of electricity to the Fiji Electricity Authority.
What began as an idea 27 years ago supported by the Rotary Club has now been taken over by a trust that has been established to oversee Fiji's most innovative housing scheme.
"Rotary clubs do not manage projects and we have been fortunate that Rotary has supported our housing project for the past 27 years. We have a trust called the Model Towns Charitable Trust which will now oversee the management of the town," says Drysdale.
The Board of Trustees comprises of Drysdale as chairman, secretary Margaret Rounds, Shri Raj Singh, Tony Whitton, Eroni Puamau, Stella Smith, Honson Cheer, Margaret O'Connor, a representative from Habitat for Humanity and a rep from the Rotary Club of Lautoka.
Many have patted him on the back and lauded what can only be described as an outstanding philanthropic effort but Drysdale is quick to point out that while the idea may have been his, the star of the show is his trusted sidekick and foreman Satyendra Narayan.
"He is the real hero," Drysdale says.
"He has physically built 720 houses and he's still working at Koroipita now. As far as I'm concerned he's a legend. He has sacrificed so much so that the poorest of the poor cane get a roof over their heads. He worked for six days a week straight and would only see his family on Saturdays for just a couple of hours — he did that for 19 years."
Speaking of sacrifices, Drysdale says working three jobs and pursuing a dream to provide safe shelter for the underprivileged has taken its toll on his personal life.
"Koroipita has been my hobby and it is a passion which I have pursued entirely in my own time, so much so that my family left me and moved to Australia.
"I only see them every five or six months and for 10 days at a time. Their sacrifice is the untold story - it's an amazing sacrifice and I take my hat off to my wife and how she raised our three kids in Brisbane."
The completion of Koroipita Stage 1 four years ago, the current development of Koroipita Stage 2 and plans for Stage 3 in the future shows an unprecedented level of commitment and passion from one man determined to not only build homes but also to rebuild the lives of many who had previously lost all hope or vision of a sustainable future.
By providing a roof over their heads, providing educational programs to help them better their lives and encouraging them to live harmoniously together - Peter Drysdale has accomplished what many have tried and failed - a real and living model of what Fiji could be.

Monday, September 03, 2012

At the ParaOlympics congratulations Delana

from w
Some good news from the ParaOlympics for one of Fiji's athletes.
From the Fiji Times today. Though born in Macuata, one report says he is really a young man from Nadroga and he lost his leg in a bus accident when he was three.  Congratulations Iliesa Delana..

Delana jumps into history

RASHNEEL KUMAR
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
Update: 10:12AM FIJIS Iliesa Delana has created history after winning Pacifics first ever gold medal at the Paralympic Games in London this morning.
The 27-year-old Macuata native recorded a personal best height of 1.74 metres, which is also the new regional record, to win the F42 high jump event.
Delana finished on the same height as Indias Girisha Hosanagara Nagarajegowda and Polands Lukasz Mamczarz but won gold by taking less jumps.
When Times Sports called Team Fiji Chef de Mission Sainiana Tukana for comments, Delana was undergoing a random drug test.
Its South Pacific biggest achievement at the Games and we are proud of Delanas achievement, Tukana said.
He started with 1.65m and continued gearing the height until 1.74m.
update:
Delana celebrates medal by running on tracks
Publish date/time: 04/09/2012 [17:13]

The Fijian flag was flying high in the London Olympic Stadium today with the happiest man on the planet at the time, Fiji paralympian, Iliesa Delana proudly running around the tracks.

The photo was priceless as Delana who only has a leg ran in Fijian colours with only one crutch. 

He ran, he smiled, he acknowledged the 80,000 plus crowd in the stadium as he created history today by winning Fiji’s first ever gold in the Paralympic Games. This is also Fiji’s first ever medal in the games.

Delana won gold in the high jump F42 category for single leg amputees with a jump of 1.74 metres setting a new Oceania record in the process and becoming the first athlete ever in Fiji and the Pacific to win a gold medal in the Paralympic games.

Two other athletes cleared the bar at 1.74 meters but Delana was declared the winner after clearing the bar in his first attempt. 

Delana beat athletes from India, Poland, China, Brazil, the Philipines and Sri Lanka. 

Delana said victory is sweeter when you look back and see the challenges that you have endured along the way.

Delana recalls those rainy days when he used to train at the National Stadium with his coach Fred Fatiaki. They had no financial assistance.

The 27 year old Fiji Sportsman of the Year remembers times when he walked with his coach to the National Stadium because they were short of bus fare.

Speaking from London Delana said he didn’t let the challenges deter him from losing sight of his goal.
There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen. 

Delana’s coach Fred Fatiaki said he also recalls those struggling days they went through.

There is an audio file attached to this story. Please loginto listen. 

Fatiaki added Delana’s achievement should be a learning curve for people with disabilities because nothing is impossible.

President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau said Delana has shown to all of us here and to the World what is humanly possible if one is to set his or her mind towards a certain goal.

He added sports in Fiji has always been known to bring people together irrespective of race, color or creed and he has no doubt that the entire nation will be united in celebrating this outstanding and historic achievement. 

Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama is calling on all Fijians to join him in congratulating Delana.

Commodore Bainimarama added that Delana’s win should be celebrated by all Fijians.

Delana and Team Fiji are expected back in the country next week.

With Delana’s success, Digicel Fiji is offering all their prepaid customers free internet on their phone. 

Since 2010, Delana has been a Digicel Fiji brand ambassador and a member of its Customer Care Team.


Story by: Vijay Narayan, Akuila Cama & Dhanjay Deo



Farm boy wins gold

Maciu Malo
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
AS the nation celebrated the amazing achievement of Fijian athletics hero Iliesa Delana, his mother Lice Bulusui was in the dark over her son's outstanding history-creating performance at the London Paralympics.
Dressed in farm clothes, Ms Bulusui had just returned from the farm when The Fiji Times team arrived at the national hero's family home at Yalava, Nadrala in Nadroga yesterday.
She welcomed us with no idea about who we were. After the pleasantries, I told her I was there to get her comments about her son's achievement.
She asked, "What happened to Ili (Delana)?" I told her he had won a gold medal at the games.
For a moment, she turned her face to the sky with eyes closed, then whispered, "thank you Jesus", as tears flowed down her cheeks.
"This is the happiest day of my life," she said.
She invited us into their humble corrugated iron home which was decorated with Delana's numerous medals and awards.
Delana had won 16 medals in what can only be described as an outstanding athletic career — 13 of which were gold.
"He last called me on Sunday, asking me to pray for him as he prepared for this important assignment. Ili told me that his only concern was a Chinese athlete who was much more experienced than him and my message to him was, 'luvequ, just do your job, we'll pray for you'."
"This is definitely one of the most memorable moments that I will always treasure about Ili, especially since his humble beginnings from his childhood days here on this farm."
Ms Bulusui said Delana was only three years old when he was involved in an accident at Nasau Youth Training Camp at Nadroga that resulted in the amputation of his leg. She said her son had always wanted to be a rugby player but the accident changed his life.
"At times when I'd take him to school, I knew the disappointment he felt when watching his peers playing rugby on the field. I always felt for Ili but I never gave up on him becoming a successful person.
"He is a strong person and was never ashamed of his disability. He always encouraged me not to lose hope because he said the Almighty God had plans for everybody created on this world and that included him.
"Thank you for bringing me this good news. I now realise and reaffirm that the Almighty God has plans for everyone. And anything is possible through the power of prayer. Ili's dedication and the support he received made him a star," Ms Bulusui said.
Delana hails from Naigani Village, Batiki in Lomaiviti and attended Sigatoka Methodist Primary and High School, before pursuing further education at the then Fiji Institute of Technology now the Fiji National University.
He is also a part time student at the University of the South Pacific pursuing a career in Industrial Electrical Engineering and has been living with guardians, the Fatiaki family in Nausori for more than four years.



Scared or sacred document?

from w
Several times I have seen a misprint putting 'scared' instead of 'sacred'.  Is this a mischievous idea by someone typing it in, or a mistake, or someone deliberately making fun of the process of receiving submissions for the future Constitution of Fiji?   I don't think it is either 'sacred' or 'scared'.  It is an idealistic set of principles for society, but it does not have a religious connotation.  Of course you want it to be the best it can be, but with Fiji's well-known behaviour regarding constitutions, some people will just shrug and say it's not our business.  So why do clever people such as Dr Nandan side with those who have broken previous Fiji constitutions?

Sacred text

Nanise Loanakadavu
Tuesday, September 04, 2012
THE new constitution of Fiji will need to be regarded as a sacred document - created for the people by the people of Fiji so that no one can destroy it, says Prof Satendra Nandan, a member of the Constitution Commission.
Fiji has abrogated three of its constitutions since 1970 which, he says, speaks volumes of the ignorance and lack of understanding Fijians have towards the document.
Prof Nandan told The Fiji Times in Tailevu yesterday that when people had a sense of ownership of these new laws, then they would feel free to come forward and make their voices heard. At the same time, he said, the people should also treat the document like Fijians treasure their land and culture.
Prof Nandan said only 500 submissions were received by the commission since August 3.
He said this was not a "good sign" because a lot of people still did not understand how important the document would be in their lives and the lives of their children.
"A number of people talked about the Deed of Cession, obviously it's a sacred moment in history but why can't we regard our constitution as a scared document," Prof Nandan said.
He said people should regard the constitution sacred as they did for the Bible and other religious text.
The constitution was created by people for the people and should be treated as sacred, so no one could destroy it," he said.
Prof Nandan said people needed to feel strongly about it so people in high authority would hesitate to take it away from them.
He explained that this was about ordinary people's epic journey and they should come up with some worthwhile ideas to be included in the constitution.
"People need to understand that their submissions will be taken into consideration," Prof Nandan said.
He said some submissions were made on how people could defend the constitution, protect it in order to create a multiracial society.
He said there was a vision emerging from men, women, children and youths of Fiji.
"We stand on a very creative ground which we call Fiji and how we can ensure that this is a blessed land," he said.
He said everyone's submissions would have a huge difference to the future and present generation of Fiji.

Labasa festival winners

from w
Now the Methodist Conference is over, I can stop reposting stories about it!  Get back to stories that are actually related to babasiga land.  Here's one - winners in a recent festival in Labasa.  Reminds me of a visit we made to a fine sheep property out of Colac when Peceli was doing some interim ministry there. . The whole shearing shed - where we were having the bush dance - had walls completely covered with sashes from the prizes at agricultural shows. Anyway thanks to the girls for fund-raising for the development of Labasa.

Laite, Tailevu lady, wins big

BY LOSIRENE CHAND

(from right) Miss Charity 2012 Laite Dakuwaqa, 2012 Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North Queen Tanveen Kaur, 2nd runner-up Loriza Naidu and 3rd runner -up Elea Falesau. Photo: LITIA BUKALIDI
The Charity crown for the 2012 Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North was awarded to Miss Public Service Commission Laite Dakuwaqa.  The young lady from Nataleira, Tailevu helped raise $30, 007.15 with her sponsors help.
Festival of the Friendly North organizing committee President Mohammed Yasin said the funds raised would be invested into infrastructure for Labasa.
“Proceeds from last year and 2010 have been used in the Sports multi- purpose complex; our major sponsor Vodafone Fiji Limited has been kind enough to contribute $25,000 to the festival”.
Mr. Yasin said they had initially been worried about corporate support for this years event but was appreciative about those who supported the contestants.
Vodafone Fiji Limited Manager for Value Added Services and Corporate Affairs Shalendra Prasad said it was good to see the young contestants advocating on healthy living.
“We can use our natural resources to live a healthy life, why can we use fresh fruits and vegetable, sea food to take care of our health?”
Mr. Prasad commended the committee for the planned projects taken up by the committee and hopes to see it up and running soon.
“Our sponsorship is a way of saying thank you to the North for their continued support to Vodafone”.
More than $150,000 was raised in total at the festival.
----  and from Fiji Times:

Queen's plans

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, September 03, 2012
REIGNING Miss Vodafone Festival of the Friendly North 2012 Tanveen Kaur now has her eyes fixed on a project to benefit the northern community.
Miss Kaur vowed to continue a family effort to serve the community, a legacy her late mother Manmeet Singh left behind.
Addressing the northern crowd following her crowning on Saturday night in Labasa, she said she would meet the other contestants to discuss details of the project to be undertaken, and called for support from the community when it begins.
"We need to continue with the good work of enlightening our community with knowledge of living a healthy life, including oral health," Miss Kaur said. "It's part of our giving back to the community."
In an interview at her home yesterday, Miss Kaur wished her mother was present to witness her achievement of another level of community charity work through her participation in the festival. "When I was asked to be a contestant, I accepted it but to promote healthy living and advocate on oral health. I didn't think of winning the crown but all that changed as we progressed in the week.
"The support from my dad and my younger sister Jasveen Kaur was superb. It's like having my mum around. They have done a great job and my sister organised my dress designs with a friend and known designer Shamal Singh," she said.
Dad Dr Pardeep Singh said his daughters had always been involved in community work from childhood.
"Their mother loves doing that kind of work and always involved our two daughters so it has been with them all this time."