RAFAELE Rokotuitai lay on the dry rocks at the bottom of the Waisese waterfalls soaking up the sun while waiting for his companions to return from the steep climb to the other pools.
A farmer and proud owner of two fishing boats, Rafa hails from Levuka is a vasu of Wainiyabia Village under the Vunivalu na Taukei Qoma in Serua.
He owns a little canteen in the village and feels content with his life so far. He used to be a soldier in the Republic of Fiji Military Forces. He went on two peacekeeping missions before leaving the army for the Fiji Police Force. It was here he found himself helping out with construction work and special projects.
He also spent a few years going back and forth for odd jobs in Savusavu before finally settling down at Wainiyabia.
His life couldn't get any better adding hard work, sacrifice along the way and perseverance helped him get to where he is today.
"I prefer doing these jobs than having a nine-to-five job. I built my two boats and use it to go fishing or to provide transport for tourists who want to go on a river ride to the Waisese waterfalls," he said.
"It's a good way to earn income besides having your own farm and a canteen to supplement the money you earn.
"There is so much we can do to earn a living especially if we utilise the land and our natural resources."
Rafa is no ordinary villager. His military and police force skills are quite handy on the farm and in the village, especially with various developments taking place.
He knows how to hunt, how to plant, how to fish and how to make use of whatever resources are at his disposal.
If stranded in the bush, his survival instincts will kick in and he acknowledges that his experiences help him deal with everyday challenges.
"Fiji is so lucky to have all these beautiful places, untouched by man, in its natural form for us to enjoy," he said at the tourist attraction site.
"It's these resources that can support livelihoods of many in the village, especially in the tourism market.
"A lot of tourists come to Fiji because of our scenic environment and friendly nature so it's for us to appreciate it and keep it safely in its natural state."
On his experience on tours of duty, Rafa said there was no place on earth like Fiji.
Compared to the devastation and daily gunfire and fighting overseas, Fiji is blessed with a multicultural and tolerant society, he says.
"In war-torn countries, there is fighting and bombing every single day. Lives are lost every day and there is no peace. We're so fortunate in Fiji," he said.
Rafa says those who make use of the land will see the benefits it can provide for their families and vanua. He encourages unemployed youths to till the land or keep themselves occupied with productive work for a bright future.