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Another day of thanks

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, September 09, 2017

EVERY single day is another opportunity for Jone Botitu to thank the Lord for allowing him to live for his four children despite a difficult life.

The accounts of his life would move anyone to tears because both his legs are amputated. However, he makes sure his children are fed, their school lunches are made and they attend to school daily.

The 52-year-old father, originally of Yakete, Nalotawa in Ba has been through a lot of challenges having to bear the role of being a father and a mother to his four children; two in secondary school while the two younger ones are in primary school.

Life was normal for this family until disaster struck in 1999 when Mr Botitu's right leg was amputated because of diabetes.

Three years later, his other leg was amputated leaving his wife with the sole responsibility to fend for his family's needs at their home at Tabataba, Ba.

In 2015, the family was enjoying a usual after-dinner conversation in the comfort of their home when their mother died as a result of a sudden asthma attack.

While the sad news was hard to bear, Mr Botitu tried his best not to let his wife's passing affect him and his children so he fought the battle alone despite having to do his work from his wheelchair.

The family survives on his Social Welfare assistance of $110 a month at their Lovu Hart home, just outside Lautoka City. The $110 is divided equally into buying food stuff, groceries and the children's school needs.

Mr Botitu relies on his wheelchair to carry him from Point A to B inside his house.

His elder daughters are both in Year 13 while the young ones are in Years 8 and 3 respectively.

The weekend is always an important time for the children because it is when they help their father by fishing in the nearby river to at least have some fish for their meals.

While there was some assistance rendered to the children at the beginning of the new school term, Mr Botitu shared with heavy heart how his children always worked hard because they did not want to see him suffer as they wanted to be successful while he was still alive.

The family's daily routine begins with a prayer. The girls then carry out every household chore and make sure everything their father needs is prepared before they leave for school.

"Au vakabauta ni dredre kece keitou sotava tiko oqo e na qai saumi vei ratou na gone me ratou rawati ratou e na gauna e ratou qase mai kina. (I believe all these difficulties we have been going through, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel for my children and they will grow up to be successful)," Mr Botitu said.

"E na veigauna kece ni neitou lotu vakavuvale, au dau vakasalataki ratou e na yaga ni cakacaka vakaukauwa me rawa kina na bula vinaka e na gauna mai muri. (At every family devotion, I have always advised them on the importance of hard work).

"Na ka e bibi taudua vei au na nodratou bula vinaka na gone kei na nodratou vuli vinaka veitalia ga ni vaka tu oqo nai tuvaki ni noqu bula. (The most important thing for me is the wellbeing of my children and to make sure they are well looked after even though I am in this state)."

Despite all these difficulties, Mr Botitu never fails to acknowledge God's everlasting love for him and his children. He also believes their faith has always been their pillar of strength.

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