Fiji Time: 12:15 AM on Friday 23 February

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / News

Swimming for an education

Shayal Devi
Saturday, January 20, 2018

ALMOST two years ago, Merewalesi Vitoto made a decision to move from Vunaqoru Village along Kavanagasau Rd, to a farm located across the Sigatoka River.

She relocated because she didn't want her two young children to swim across the river twice a day to attend school.

In Navosa, it has become a norm for children to swim across the river whenever the fibreglass boat belonging to Naqalimare District School is out of commission.

Today, her modest two-room corrugated iron and timber house is what she calls "a boat stop".

"When the boat is unavailable, children from the Kavanagasau side come and leave their clothes and tubes here and when they return in the afternoon, they take this back with them," the 35-year-old said.

This week, the school boat was out of service until it resumed operation on Thursday morning. However, the boat only made two morning trips, on Thursday and yesterday.

"School started on Monday and Tuesday so the students swam. The boat just started yesterday (Thursday) and they swam across the river.

"In the afternoon (on Thursday), they swam back and this morning (Friday), the boat came."

Ms Vitoto said they were used to the boat engine breaking down because it was old.

"This swimming for education has been going for a very long time. The children started using the tubes last year and we also had a lot of hardships over the last two years so I asked my dad and mum to go to the other side and live there so it's easier for the children. I feel sorry for the children who are so young and yet they have to get up so early and swim in the cold water. It's especially difficult and dangerous during bad weather.

"Early in the morning, we (parents) wake up at 4am, cook the food and by 5.30am they have breakfast and by 6am, we prepare the tube and life jackets. We just use the empty bucket to put their clothes and lunch boxes inside.

"It's good that the Sigatoka River Safari provided some life jackets."

She said there was a need for at least one more vessel to help the children and villagers.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.63400.6150
JPY 54.415451.4154
GBP 0.35770.3497
EUR 0.40670.3947
NZD 0.68870.6557
AUD 0.64290.6179
USD 0.50130.4843

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 22nd, February, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Wheels for ex-PMs
  2. Police brutality claims
  3. Ministers and public transport
  4. 200 vehicles from China
  5. Farmer admitted to Bar after struggle
  6. NFP: No to coup
  7. Public 'sick and tired'
  8. Family homeless after fire
  9. Nasinu family homeless after fire
  10. Students receive access to internet

Top Stories this Week

  1. Long wait Monday (19 Feb)
  2. Wheels for ex-PMs Thursday (22 Feb)
  3. Plans to open caves for public viewing Monday (19 Feb)
  4. None like Gita Friday (16 Feb)
  5. Tears flow for eleven Wednesday (21 Feb)
  6. Masirewa scores biggest try Monday (19 Feb)
  7. Adi Meretui joins SODELPA camp Monday (19 Feb)
  8. Police brutality claims Thursday (22 Feb)
  9. Bitcoin rises above $20,175 Saturday (17 Feb)
  10. Sau's 7s aim Monday (19 Feb)