Fruits of our labours

WE are well into 2016 with the month of January now behind us. We are also into the third week of the first school term which will be 14 weeks in duration.

Preparing for the new school year involves several things; buying stationery, uniforms, lunch boxes, bags and sandals etc.

For those in secondary school, it involved the above and more. Specifically where is education headed? What is a child going to do after secondary school in terms of work?

Amidst the efforts to get children into school since their previous school had closed down, there was a discussion between an aunt and two nieces on the nieces’ choice of subjects in regards to their intended careers.

One wanted to be a teacher so aunty enquired on what subjects she would like to teach. Aunty, who is a teacher, then told her which subjects she would have to particularly do well in.

The other is interested in a career in medicine. So she was advised on the appropriate subject combination that would be in line with what she wanted to later in life.

And on Monday January 25, members of a specific group of students had made their choice. They and their teachers sat in a service during which the Navuso Agricultural and Technical Institute, which will also be referred to as Navuso Agricultural School, was launched.

As part of his sermon, the president of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma, Reverend Dr Tevita Banivanua Nawadra, directed those in the congregation to Luke 7: 20, where John the Baptist had sent his disciples to enquire of Jesus if he was the messiah Israel was waiting for.

When John’s disciples arrived at where Jesus was, he was healing the lame, restoring the sight of the blind and those who could not speak could do so again. When the question was put to him, Jesus did not simply answer yes or no. Instead he instructed John’s disciples to tell the one who had sent them what they had seen.

Mr Nawadra told the young men gathered, they could be likened to John’s disciples.

Speaking in the iTaukei language, he said: “It can be said that you have been sent from your respective homes, families, villages and communities.

“Go to Muainase (where the school is located) and see what is happening there.”

Mr Nawadra told the students the queries of those who had sent them would be answered when the boys’ (planned) four-year stay at Muainase; where they will learn communication skills, crop and animal husbandry, carpentry and joinery, automotive engineering, among others, was over. It could even be earlier then that for the fruits of what is being done at Muainase to, whether good or bad, be witnessed.

Two years ago, a group of students and their drill instructors were rounding up their preparations for their passing-out parade. During the last week, also called barrack week, the instructors moved in to the school premises so all the foot-drill moves could be polished and ready for the big day.

After a day in the hot sun, instructors, teachers, parents and members of the community would share a few tanoa of yaqona. A community member asked the instructors who from the military would be present for the parade.

Apart from the chief guest, who was the then commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, the instructor said the commanding officer (CO) of the 3FIR training wing would also be present.

“Our CO is coming down to see if our being here at this school has been of any use,” he said. “This is not new. It is all part of ensuring that we do what we are sent to do and that we do it well.”

Just before Christmas last year a gentleman who is a leader in his church group related his discussion with the parents of a troublesome youth. The youth had been at the centre of some talk in the neighbourhood in regards to items, including money, which had gone missing.

The parents of the youth were also heavily involved in church work.

As part of his contribution to that discussion, the gentleman said he told the parents: “We are all parents. As such, there is a common benchmark by which our peers, and the community at large, will view our parenting, and that is through the behaviour of our children.

“Our children reflect our homes, the language they use tells others the language they hear at home, the manner in which they conduct themselves in public shows what and how they have been taught at home. All that they have been taught at home, they carry around with them.

“While it is to be good to be involved in work of the church, it would be better to address first the issues which need sorting out at home.”

Whether students or teachers, parents or children, married or single, being employed in the formal sector or otherwise, it is something worth our while for each of us to ponder. When we hold up the mirror to reflect on the fruits of 2016, will we like what we see? There’s still more than 10 months to make sure we do.

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