Editorial comment – New road opens opportunities

Villagers of Nawaisomo in a happy mood at the new road under construction to their village in Naitasiri . Picture: SIKELI QOUNADOVU

IT’S interesting how the construction of roads can actually make a difference in the lives of people.

It’s obviously something a lot of us take for granted, especially the thousands of people who have grown up with well-constructed roads.

It is when you live in Nawaisomo Village in the district of Nagonenicolo in Naitasiri, that this becomes something you hold out hope for.

The construction of a new road to the village has been described by villagers as a relief.

They have had to wait for decades to see their dream become a reality.

No more do they have to carry the sick on bamboo rafts or punts to the nearest health centre in Nakorosule.

They don’t have to take that two-hour journey anymore.

The road will mean a 10-minute bumpy ride to Nakorosule.

They don’t have to sail down the Waicakena River though.

“This is a huge relief and we are just so happy,” said grandmother Selita Roko.

“Work has been very slow. It should have been completed by now, but we are grateful that finally the road has reached our village.”

Nawaisomo chief, the Vunivalu, Ratu Waisea Drakusiwale spoke about an end to the struggles of carrying housing supplies for instance, and crossing the river to reach their village.

The Fiji Roads Authority had set plans to complete the road to Nawaisomo this year and have brought relief to villagers.

Nawaisomo Primary School headteacher Peni Bavia said the new road would open up a lot of opportunities for the school.

Mr Bavia said they previously could not take their students on excursions to urban areas because of the risks associated with crossing the Waicakena River.

Located in the district of Nagonenicolo, it is arguably one of the most remote schools on mainland Viti Levu.

The school accommodates students from nearby informal settlements and children from the villages of Nawaisomo, Wairuarua, Dreketi and Nakida.

Sometimes when returning from sports events at Naluwai ground, he said, their school team would be arriving at Waibalavu in the dark, and then using the light from mobile phones, teachers would assist the students up to the village.

It used to take about an hour to trek from Waibalavu to Nawaisomo.

The road has eased their woes to a large extent.

It also offers villagers an opportunity to realise their dreams, and pursue economic interests.

“Generally the road means the possibility of more visits from Government and non-government organisations because the school is now more accessible,” he said.

Acknowledgement is in order.

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