Adopted daughter likes her new life

Emele Beti with her daughter Nafisha Dean at Naqara market, Taveuni. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU

Love conquers all barriers.

For six years, an iTaukei woman on Taveuni has been looking after an abandoned 13-year-old Fijian of Indian descent girl from a squatter in Suva.

Emele Beti, vegetable vendor and farmer from Burotu came to Nafisha Dean’s rescue when she was a class two student living in poverty with her mum at Jittu Estate.

Nafisha, now a healthy Year 8 student attending Taveuni Central Sanatan School has hopes of becoming an accountant one day.

“I don’t want to go back. My mummy who looks after me now (Emele) is my mother because she takes good care of me and loves me,” she said.

“My siblings and I used to live in poverty back in Suva, but now I have a house on a big farm. We plant our own food and sell them.”

Nafisha likes her new life on her foster parents’ farm in Burotu where she helps with simple chores like keeping the home clean.

She is fluent in the local dialect and understands local customs and traditions.

“When I got her from Jittu, she was malnourished. There was hardly anything to eat.

“I went to visit my sister in Suva six years ago when I met Nafisha. She liked me instantly and wanted to follow me. I don’t know how her mother could easily give her away to a stranger, but I guess she already had too much on her plate.”

The couple had been trying to have children for many years. They own two farms in Burotu and Delaivione, Taveuni and plant yaqona, dalo and vegetables.

“Whenever I saw a woman with a baby in hand I’d wish I had children of my own. I’d sleep at night and cry my heart out to God for a baby. I did that for many years and never lost hope.

“When I met Nafisha for the first time in 2012, I knew God wanted me to take care of her as my own flesh and blood and help give her a better life, away from poverty and struggles.

“We are just farmers but we will try our best to give her whatever she wants. She is the daughter I never had, a daughter given to me as God’s answer to my prayers.”

Sometimes Emele gets negative comments for looking after Nafisha.

“When people get racial and make fun of my situation I get very hurt. I cry because Nafisha is my daughter now. There may be no similarities between her, my husband and myself but in my heart and mind, she is my daughter,” Emele said.

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