‘A boy from Vaturu’

THE district of Vaturu in the upper Nadi region will always enjoy a special place in Jone Vuli’s heart.

Now that he has attained a certain measure of success in life, the Waitabu, Lakeba, Lau native never forgets to return to his place of birth at Vaturu in Nadi. It’s where his late father once taught and was also home for a couple of years.

When Jone was born 50 years ago, his late father Mr Nemani as he was known to one and all, was the headteacher of Vaturu District School. Thirty-eight years later, Jone decided to visit the place again to hand over a trophy to the school in memory of his late parents.

Vaturu, however, is not a special place for Jone because that’s where he first went to school. It’s made more special because he is his parents first-born after 15 years of marriage.

It was in 2015 that Jone, the financial training instructor with the Fiji Police Force with the assistance of police personnel from Sabeto, visited Vaturu and gave the trophy to the school.

This same year, he was invited to be the chief guest for the school’s prize-giving ceremony. He returned last year in the same capacity.

Vaturu District School celebrated 100 years of its existence this year and villagers of Nagado and Natawa chose Jone to be the chairman of the organising committee for celebration which was held at the school last week.

“I was born here and I was educated at Vaturu District School from classes One to Four,” Jone said.

“My father wanted to send me to a Catholic school because I am a Roman Catholic so I had to spend a few primary school years at Mount St Mary’s in Nadi before we left.

“That time, we only had four teachers here at Vaturu and it was double stream for all classes.”

Early this year, he took two members of the Fiji Police Band to the place he spent his childhood to celebrate his 50th birthday.

At the stroke of midnight, the beginning of the bay and his birthday were greeted with the strains of his birthday song accompanied by trumpet blasts.

And being part of the school’s history, celebrating a 100 years, was an emotional experience for the humble, soft-spoken gentleman.

If you happen to come across a group of Vaturu men conversing in their dialect, don’t be surprised if you discover that there among them, is a Lauan native.

“I am very well versed with the Vaturu dialect as it was the first I had learnt growing up as a child.

“I am sure my parents in heaven will be very proud of what I am doing today just to honour their work at Vaturu.”

More Stories