Mum leaves son out of love

EMILY Waqairatu left behind her 18-month-old son 33 years ago in search of employment. Now a proud grandmother to five boys, she is still enjoying her work at Castaway Island, Fiji.

If you visit this resort, the bula smile from this Matuku lady is something that will make you feel at home.

In fact, Castaway has been her home for the past 33 years having made her way from being a housekeeper to a waitress and the rest of the years being spent on bartending.

All the sweat, hard work and tears was for one thing, to raise up her only son and made sure he attained the highest level of education just so he could have a chance at a better life.

Emily is never ashamed of the fact that she was a proud single parent.

“I had to be bold, I was just a young mother back then and I knew I had to work to support him,” an emotional Emily said.

“I was so lucky to have the support of my sisters who took him into their care while I travelled all the way from Suva to Castaway to work.

“It has been 33 years since that parting and my son is now an engineer in one of those container ships that travel abroad.”

Emily has never regretted any moment spent at Castaway. During the 33 years at the resort, it has been very important for the 59-year-old grandmother to carry out her work and ensure tourists were given the best treatment they deserved.

Her work as a bartender has even taken her across the seas to spend her annual leave with those she met and served at the resort.

“I have met lots of friends from around the world, mostly Australians and New Zealanders, who I have been close to for many years and most of them are returnees,” Emily said.

Most of those guests, she said, had been coming for more than 30 years.

“Most of our guests are just like family to us and we welcome them every year.

“I enjoy this work so much because I get to meet and serve new people every day and it is just lovely having to be part of the big Castaway family.”

On her days-off, she travels to Suva to see her five grandsons.

While she will always miss her son on her days-off because of his work commitment, she is thankful her grandchildren are always there to cheer her up, doing everything to make their grandmother happy.

As a single parent, Emily believes nothing is hard and being strong-willed has helped her a lot.

“When I left my son when he was just a baby, I promised myself that I was going to do my best for him and now he has earned himself a good job and his family.

“It’s always good to listen and adhere to calls whether it be from the church or vanua and follow work ethics.

“It’s simple and you can achieve the best,” Emily concluded.

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