Home away from home

Ateca Raivukici with one of the kindy students. Picture: MATILDA SIMMONS

IMAGINE sending your child to board at a school situated far from your home at the tender age of five.

Most parents would never even dream of it.

Some would just shudder at the mere thought.

But for Sawau District School at Dakuibeqa Village on Beqa Island, this is the norm for two such children.

Early childhood education teacher, Ateca Raivukici says the two children, who live about a boat ride away from Dakuibeqa, were sent by their parents because they had elder siblings and family members also boarding at the school.

“As in all iTaukei villages there is always a sense of community, the villagers make sure the children are well looked after,” she shared.

“In this case — we make sure that they feel at home whether in school or at their dormitory.”

We met Ms Raivukici at the school one morning over the weekend. The school has about 80 students and caters to children from neighbouring villages.

She looks after eight children in her kindergarten class between the ages of four and five.

“The two five-year-olds are boarding at the school, sleep with the cooks at the dining hall. They have a nice cosy fire going there,” she said smiling.

“It’s quite warm given the couple of chilly nights we’ve been having but the two children have become accustomed to the daily school activities here. They go home on Fridays and return on Sundays every week.”

For Ms Raivukici, teaching at the school has its ups and downs but she enjoys the serenity that comes with it.

The school has some of the best views on the island.

Enveloped by mountain ranges and green forest, one could even envy them for the beauty of nature that greets them every morning.

“I have been teaching for eight years under the early childhood education. This would be my second year on Beqa Island,” said Ms Raivukici.

“I like teaching in rural schools because I get to save and budget my income. “The school roll is small too and easier to manage. I must say I enjoy my stay here, it’s peaceful and quiet.”

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