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Out and about at 94

Serafina Silaitoga
Monday, February 11, 2013

HE is a 94-year-old but doesn't allow his old age to get him down even if he has to get out of bed and walk outside for fresh air.

Peniasi Beta is one who appreciates the creation of God and he believes his longevity is because of the Almighty.

Commonly known as Kuku Beta, the villagers in the Buca Bay area know him for being a strong determined man who loves nature.

Even the youths in the area can't get over how a man, way much older than them, can step outside to just have a glance of what nature provides - the sea and islands of Rabi and Kioa facing his home in Nause settlement, that sits by the mainroad towards Vatuvonu.

This man, who amazes the younger generation in the area, has also been active in the construction of two schools that belongs to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Born on the month of October in 1924, Mr Beta grew up in the village of Loa where his mum hails from.

"My mum owned a piece of land in the area of Loa and we moved to occupy it. A part of her land was leased to an Australian John Moore who initiated the construction of the Vatuvonu Primary and Secondary schools.

"He had a house on his leased land and he asked us to go occupy his home. So we moved there again to live in his house," Mr Beta said.

"One day, he shared with us about a dream he had. He told us that he dreamt he had walked along this coastal road and when he got closer to Vatuvonu, where his house was, he saw a bright light from the hills.

"He turned and looked up towards the hills and heard a voice that told him about the piece of land in Vatuvonu which belonged to the SDA church.

Three days after seeing that light and hearing the voice, Mr Beta said the Australian man purchased all building materials for the school which arrived in Vatuvonu the same week.

"We built the school that week and every time I think back of those years, I thank God for using me in playing a role of helping educating our children through the construction of schools in villages."

Mr Beta, who was so precise while sharing details of his childhood days, said Vatuvonu was a beautiful place that once attracted a lot of visitors.

"It was such a beautiful school and well known in the Pacific. We used to have people coming from around the Pacific to attend school in Vatuvonu and the school standard was high."

After helping out with the construction of Vatuvonu, Mr Beta moved to Viti Levu with a team that was assigned the construction of Navesau School in Wainibuka.

"I helped constructed that school building which continues to serve the needs of the people in Wainibuka and some from around Fiji."

From Navesau, Mr Beta travelled to Fulton College to help out with work at the tertiary institution.

The secret to his long life is simply living on fresh green vegetables and food from his garden and the sea.

"I look after my life well and watch what I eat. I eat a lot of fish and vegetables and enjoy my rest everyday and that is why I continue to walk around today at the age of 94."

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