The people of Wainimakutu in Namosi yesterday celebrated the return of one of their sons after last weekends rugby sevens victory in Gold Coast, Australia.
Digicel 7s wing Alipate Raitini was accorded a full traditional welcome ceremony by his relatives and fellow villagers of Wainimakutu yesterday.
About 300 people gathered at Wainimakutu to greet the new sevens sensation as he returned to the highlands after helping the national team retain the Gold Coast title last Sunday.
While the day was dedicated to the celebration of Raitini's awesome debut, many shed tears as they recalled the tough road the 21-year-old followed to see his rugby dream come true.
Raitini himself was in tears as he told of the challenge he faced as he chased his dreams.
Raitini said as a village boy attending a rural school like Wainimakutu he faced a lot of difficulties and hardships.
"This are the challenges one has to face in order to achieve his or her dream," Raitini told students at his former school as they gathered to greet the flying winger.
Raitini said his parents had to work hard to send him to school.
"I even had to walk barefoot to school."
"I challenge you today that success comes only if you can focus and work towards your dream, " Raitini told students of Wainimakutu.
Toloi Kolinisau was Raitini's career teacher at Wainimakutu High School and he said the flying winger had achieved his childhood dream.
Kolinisau said he remembered Raitini saying that he wanted to be a professional rugby player.
"It's so emotional to see with your own eyes that a young kid with a dream is able to achieve that dream after a lot of hard work and sacrifice," Kolinisau said with tears in his eyes.
Kolinisau said Raitini was a good student, always disciplined and a hard worker
"He has reaped the fruits of his hard work." Village elder Paula Manumanunitoga said it was a historic occasion for the people of Wainimakutu as one of their sons had been selected into the Fiji team.
"The people are happy and proud of Alipate's achievements," Manumanunitoga said during the welcome ceremony at Wainimakutu.