COVID-19: Couple reunites with grandchild

Meli Nawa with wife Shirley Nawa and grandson Iliorevi Ratukalou in Lautoka. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

“It was the most horrible experience of my life.”

These were the words of Lautoka resident Shirley Nawa who spent the past 19 days with husband Meli Nawa away from her daughter and grandchildren after they missed the Lautoka lockdown on March 20.

The couple was left stranded at the Tuvu border when the chartered bus returning from a funeral on Vanua Levu failed to reach the border before the Sugar City lockdown.

“We’ve been away from family before but this one felt like years,” said Mr Nawa.

“We arrived just a few hours after the lockdown and it was really difficult for us to turn back when we knew we couldn’t enter.”

Mrs Nawa said the couple made the trek to Suva where they stayed with family until the capital city also called for a lockdown.

“When we got the news that Suva would be on lockdown too, I said we are not staying,” she said.

“We left at 3pm that afternoon on a bus and all I was thinking was I didn’t care that we had to sleep outside. We were not staying in Suva.”

The couple then made their way to relatives in Nadi where they counted down the days.

“The most difficult part was when we looked from the window of the house, we could see the Sleeping Giant and I kept thinking “just over that mountain is my grandchildren”.

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