There have been many drowinings in Fiji during the past year. Children play in water even when there is a flood and a raging river. Adults going out fishing do not use life-jackets. The sea is warm and you can float for hours as long as you don't panic. Yet thousands of people in Fiji never experience the pleasure of swimming and it's necessary for all people who live near the sea or near rivers. How many schools have swimming classes for the students? Years ago I took swimming lessons for a group of girls from Dudley High School. Most were timid and scared in the water at first but after six weeks they became more confident and some could swim. At least they learnt to float and not panic - I hope. We lived by the sea at Nukutatava, near Labasa when our three boys were very small and they just went into the water with their cousins and somehow taught themselves to swim, but not all families do this.
Here is a letter to the Editor in today's Fiji Times.
I THINK more awareness should be done on drowning. Mandatory classes on swimming should be taught in schools. I firmly believe that the reason for most drowning cases is that the victims don't know how to swim. People must be taught on how to handle a crisis. Most people get confused and nervous when they see someone drowning. We have to start from the grassroots if we want to lessen the number of drowning cases. I hope necessary authorities will have a thoughtful view on this issue seriously.
ASHNEEL PRASAD ,Auckland ,NZ