WATCHING her youngest child leave for the US is one of the toughest situations that Makarita Naduva has had to face. Her only wish is that her child, Veronika Qalo Naduva, will return home having accomplishing her life's goals.
Qalo, who's more commonly known as Nika to her peers, is a Vatuwaqa volleyball rep who was awarded a full scholarship to study at the USA New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI) under the Oceania Foundation Sport scholarship program.
Through the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee and Fiji Volleyball Federation, the 18-year-old former Saint Joseph's Secondary School student has been offered the two-year scholarship.
For Qalo's mum, she is aware that this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"This is a chance of a lifetime for her," said Naduva.
"It's hard to see my youngest child go but I only wish that when she returns she'll make me and my husband happy."
The proud mum could not hide her emotions as she was interviewed by Times Sport.
"I'm so happy for Nika. She has made us proud and I wish her the very best in her studies and sporting career."
Qalo, who has three elder siblings, said it would be a challenge to leave her family behind.
But she's quite prepared with the help of her three brothers who have groomed her to be strong.
"I'm attending a military school. It's going to be exciting.
""It's going to be a challenge balancing studies with volleyball but I am willing to give it a go."
Qalo thanked the responsible sporting organisations for choosing her for the scholarship.
"I never thought that I'd get the scholarship. I just applied just for the sake of it but I did not know that it was going to turn out this way. And for that I want to thank ONOC, my family and everyone who supported me."
Qalo flies out of Nadi International Airport tonight.