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Home away from home

Elenoa Baselala In Townsville, Australia
Saturday, October 28, 2017

FOR Fijians who are making a living in Townsville, the presence of the Vodafone Fiji Bati is almost similar to being back at home in Fiji.

"We are so glad that the Fiji team is here," Netani Bolatolu, who is with Island Breeze Townsville, said.

"We are looking forward to host them here in Townsville.

"We represent our Fijian community here and we want to be supportive of them when they are here in Townsville, to be at the ground to cheer them on.

"We want to really showcase to the world our culture, who we are as a people."

Island Breeze uses Pacific cultural expressions to share a message of hope through dance, music and food.

The Youth With a Mission organisation with branches in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney connects with indigenous communities to celebrate culture and encourage others to embrace their own cultural identity, building a sense of dignity and self-worth.

"The Fiji Bati is representing all of us," Bolatolu said.

"Even us (Fijian community) will be representing Fiji from the embankment and it's a proud moment for us as we start the RLWC."

With Island Breeze Townsville, the Fijian community welcomed the Fiji team through Fijian songs complete with ukuleles, guitars and a lali.

They will use these musical instruments plus a sound system to cheer their hearts out for the national team.

"We are a small (Fijian) community compared with other cities in Australia, there's about 150 of us," Bolatolu said.

"Even though we are quite small, we are quite close in terms of our relationship which is quite nice.

"We want to make the Fiji Bati know that they are supported, loved and there are people from home here.

"We want to make them feel welcomed and hopefully contribute to they will play in the coming weeks."

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