Kaila - YEAR 12 student Joseph-Jone Kauvesi did not waste time feeling sorry for those affected by the devastating floods in the Central and Western divisions. Instead he got his classmates at International School Suva together to donate much-need household items and materials to affected families in Rewa.
It all started when his planned trip to Sydney to visit his mother took a U-turn when news of the flood in the west had cut off access to main and back roads in Nadi.
"I kept listening to the radio and hearing the growing numbers of people being evacuated from their homes to evacuation centres. I thought it would be a good idea to do something for them rather than just listening to the pitiful stories and echoing the common sentiment, ‘isa lei'.
"I was going to do something about it. On Monday morning, I called my fellow Year 12 colleagues and informed them of my intentions and asked if they wanted to be a part of it. The response was great and it was indeed overwhelming.
"I asked them to bring any old clothes, blankets or food to donate. I also used Facebook to relay the news. On Tuesday, we picked up all the donations and drove to the Commissioner Central's office in Nausori where we were met by some officers and the Commissioner Central Lieutenant Colonel Bale Tuitubou.
"We were briefed about the greatly affected areas in Rewa and decided that we would visit and give the donations to Nukutubu village. As told, the village had three evacuation centres. Evacuees included 71 adults, 61 children and three infants," he said.
The group followed the officers to Nukutubu bearing donated clothings, food and toys. There were no provisions for the infants among the donated items so they decided to buy these along the way from a nearby supermarket.
"We were in awe of the damage caused by the heavy rain to the land areas we passed. It was devastating, saddening and befalling," Joseph-Jone said.
"The road trip was an exciting and interesting one though. We reached Nukutubu and were met by the village headman. We presented him with our donations and felt deeply satisfied that it was received with a lot of appreciation and gratitude.
"The trip, although unplanned and spontaneous was rewarding, fulfilling and heart-warming considering we were the first to be there for them and of course witness for ourselves the plight that flood victims were going through.
"The last-minute organisation, arrangements and collections may have been tiring but in the end, we all felt content with ourselves and satisfied that the beginning of our holidays was indeed worthwhile and more so that the cancelled trip to Sydney was never regretted." In the wake of the floods, good Samaritans like Joseph-Jone continue to lend a helping hand to those suffering from the impact of the deadly disaster.