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Service is his life

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Thursday, March 08, 2018

THE famous quote by the late Mahatma Gandhi "The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others" fits exceptionally well for retired teacher Saimone Naivalu.

His life throughout these years has been dedicated to serving other people rather than focusing on his own and family's life.

At 68 years of age, this soft spoken gentleman from beautiful Nacula Village in Yasawa has never regretted any moment spent away from home despite having sleepless nights and having to spend days and weeks away from home just because of his love for helping others.

Master Naivalu, as he is fondly known, during his tenure as a teacher served in many rural and remote schools around the country for more than 20 years before deciding to contest in the 2006 general election under the then Soqosoqo Duavata ni Lewenivanua banner.

His work as a teacher involved being posted to Lau, Kadavu and even Gau before returning to the Western Division where he taught at Drauniivi Public School in Ra as the headteacher and was later posted to Vuda District School at Viseisei and later became a lecturer at the then Lautoka Teacher's College for two years.

He then spent a number of years as the education officer for the Lautoka/Yasawa/Nadi and Ba region before finally resigning to concentrate on politics.

Master Naivalu's intention of joining politics was not because of fame or honour but for one reason only, to serve his people, fulfil their needs and continue with his love for community service.

Although he was not able to win a seat in Parliament, he continued the good work and joined his own provincial company, the Ba Provincial Holdings Company Ltd as an operations manager before moving on to become the sales and marketing manager for the Fiji Ex-servicemen League and later joining other organisations.

Two years ago, he felt the urge to return to his village of Nacula and assist develop his own people with all the knowledge he gained from all the experience he's gained throughout the years.

It was a decision he never regretted.

If you happen to visit Nacula, you will be introduced straight away to the Nacula district representative who also has his own homestay business to accommodate tourists and those going for work-related visits.

"It's not just my homestay business," Mr Naivalu said.

"I am glad to return to my own village and help develop the village as well as the villagers' way of looking at things which is a very important component of life.

"And we work together as a family, a unit and ensure that every development we do is for the betterment of each and every villager especially our future generation."

Master Naivalu's experience and assistance does not end only in his village, he also holds the position of being the Yasawa North Secondary School manager and is still enjoying his work although he is only two years away from being 70-years-old.

Apart from this, he is also a master of ceremony, as and when the need arises.

While he finds time for his five children and 10 grandchildren, he will always ensure his community work is always on track and that everyone he serves is content at the end of the day.

"It is important to be proactive in community service … most young people prefer to be on their own nowadays.

"They see being involved in community service as a waste of money but I am someone who offers my service for the benefit of others and this has been my life ever since I started my teaching career."

Despite the busy daily schedule, Master Naivalu never fails to acknowledge God's blessings over him and his family and he believes these blessings were the results of the work he provides for many other people who have crossed his path.

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