Fiji 7s reps hosted to island welcome party

Fiji Rugby 7s Olympian and World Cup champ Iosefo Masi with villagers of Somosomo in Taveuni. Picture: SUPPLIED/JONI LEWENILOVO

The energy matched the beautiful weather in Somosomo Village on Taveuni yesterday as Jerry Matana, Iosefo Masi and Elia Canakaivata were surprised with a welcome home party.

Celebratory vibes filled the atmosphere with music, smiles, joy and laughter.

Joni Lewenilovo, a fellow high school mate of Iosefo Masi and Jerry Matana, shared with Fiji Times Online how proud everyone was and how much he loved watching his community come together for such a joyous occasion.

“It truly is beautiful to watch my community celebrate and appreciate these boys for all they’ve done despite the hardships and trials,” a delighted Mr Lewenilovo said.

He could not contain his pride as he reminisced on their old high school days and how they had had so much fun.

He said he could not believe his eyes when he saw Jerry and Iosefo take the world by storm, not only representing Taveuni but Fiji as a nation.

Mr Lewenilovo attended Holy Cross College with Iosefo and Jerry.

“It was a simpler time and one filled with happiness,” he reminisced.

Mr Lewenilovo said it was a tradition for the boys to present a sevusevu upon their return to Taveuni.

“Somosomo is where the paramount chief is here so, therefore, one must notify the chief of their leave as well as their return.

“However, much to their surprise, there was a whole welcoming party awaiting them.”

From Somosomo to Bouma, the rugby celebrities were hosted to celebrations at each visit site, a testament to excited and proud family and friends on the island.

Canakaivata’s mum Salome Ranadi virtually joined in the celebration from their Navunisole Village home in Tailevu, saying her son and his teammates deserved to be celebrated for all they had achieved.

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