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Fiji Time: 6:31 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Amoe and Faith

Solomoni Biumaiono
Saturday, February 16, 2013

I was sitting inside a sparsely furnished room at Terry Walk in Suva. Young men walked in and out of the door, while another group, hung outside at the landing. They are just teenagers.

They seemed to admire the man I have come to see and they attend to all his commands. The man in question is Amoe Aisake, a 28-year-old Motusa villager who has been making a difference to the lives of these young boys.

This sparsely furnished room is what he calls his office.

In fact, it's his tattoo parlour and it also doubles as a counselling centre and shelter to street kids, homeless teenagers and truants.

"In fact I didn't ask for this. They just came and shared their problems with me and I can't chase them away. I do what I can with what little that I have, but still, I have to care. Otherwise who else will care?" Aisake said.

Together with his friend, Faith, they took these young boys under their wings at the Extreme Studio and Tattoo Parlour.

"You know, you can never bring a talatala (pastor) to come and make them share their problems with him or her. They are more comfortable sharing their problems with people like themselves. People who they know understand them, and their problems," Faith said.

Faith and Aisake have both shared their food and even given them money in what they simply describe as "doing their part in this lifetime."

"Just this morning I gave one of them, who attends school, his lunch money. I know it is not much, but that is the least that we're doing to at least try and turn them into better people," Faith said.

Apart from having no other choice, the duo have accepted this as their lot in life and have gone out of their way to try and help misguided teenagers.

"It is their choice not to attend school. It is their choice to come and hang around in town and we cannot change that, but what we can do is help them along the way and make them see that there is something better out there for them and to work towards it," Faith said.

Both said youths and teenagers from different backgrounds with all sorts of problems come to them seeking their help or want money for another meal or just to find a place to stay.

"Even to the extent that some pregnant teenagers come here and we try to help them in any way we can.

"Then there are others like girls who do not have any jobs who come into town to try and earn a living and of course, the street kids and the shoeshine boys," Faith pointed out.

Just then Faith pointed out the window down to the street where a woman carried a baby. He then recounted the woman's story about how she is mentally ill and how she was always used.

"We even went out of our way to try and help her and we feel sorry for her because she was a bit of a mental case," he said.

Both of them admitted that even their good intentions have strained their finances and families as both of them have children and families to look after apart from these other young men and women.

"Sometimes it's stressful because we're not trained nor do we purposefully go out of our way to offer our help to these people," Aisake said.

He shared a biblical verse — Proverbs 18:24 . Aisake said he uses the verse as a motivating tool which allows him to overcome challenges like having to be the surrogate parents to young men and women who have social problems.

Judging by the way Aisake and Faith were talking, it is easy to see the passion in their eyes and the conviction of their beliefs in trying to make a difference out in the streets of Suva.

Faith even shared his dream that should he come across a lump sum of money in future, he will build a youth centre in Fiji to help young people.

"They do not have an outlet that will make use of their talents or will keep them busy and away from the streets," Faith said.