Fiji Time: 1:10 PM on Tuesday 23 December

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Home for a champion

Nasik Swami
Friday, February 01, 2013

YEARS of struggle and living in a corrugated and wooden home is now history for 49-year-old Lice Bulusui.

Thanks to her son Iliesa Delana's sporting achievements, the mother and son moved into their new State-gifted $100,000 home at Ura Place in Valelevu yesterday.

The emotional and humble mum who single-handedly raised her disabled son after his father deserted them when Delana was in kindergarten, reminisced on their difficult past.

"I am so happy that God has seen my struggles in life and blessed me with a talented son. My prayers have been answered," Mrs Bulusui said. She said when Iliesa's father left them, life became a struggle and she had to leave her teaching job and look after Delana while working in the sugarcane farm.

"I had to work like a man in the hot sun to put food on the table and at the same time ensure that all my son's needs were met. I also sought assistance from the Social Welfare Department," she said.

Handing over the home, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama paid tribute to Delana's courageous and "never-say-die" attitude towards his life's challenges.

"It is not only the victory itself that we are here to celebrate. We are here to acknowledge the challenges you have overcome and the sacrifices you have made. We are here to celebrate the years of hard work, dedication and perseverance that went into winning that gold medal," Commodore Bainimarama said.

He said the house was a token of appreciation to convey Fiji's profound gratitude for the great honour Delana bestowed on the country with his gold medal performance at the Paralympics in London, adding Mr Delana had inspired Fiji with his accomplishments and united the country in pride.

"By becoming the first Fijian to win an Olympic medal, you delivered to your fellow Fijians a great national moment, the kind of moment that occurs so rarely in a lifetime," he said. A tearful Mrs Bulusui said living in a corrugated iron and wooden house all those years was a struggle.

"The house was not up to standard and was not safe. Water used to come inside the house when it rained," she said as tears flowed down her cheeks.

"The new house gifted by government is a dream come true. I never dreamt that I will be living in such a house one day and I thank the whole of Fiji, the Prime Minister, the President, all the ministers, the Fiji Military and the Housing Authority," she said.

* More on PAGE 3

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