The only way is up

Tuiwaitui Sogo inside the Shangri-la Fijian resort bar in Yanuca, Nadroga, during the COVID-19 lockdown. Picture: SUPPLIED.

Tuiwaitui Sogo’s  ups and downs in life is a tale familiar to many Fijians.

He began his work career as a security guard at Fiji’s Daily Post, the country’s third newspaper and worked his way to photographer before finding his true calling in the tourism industry.

“It was a blessing in disguise when I was told to leave Daily Post in 2010 at Vatuwaqa, Suva, because management had closed it down,” the 35-year-old shared.

Too long in his comfort zone at the newspaper had made the Daliconi, Vanuabalavu lad settle into a routine with no prospects for further advancement in sight.

“When the company closed down, I was forced to think about what I could do to survive and to fulfill my dream of starting a family.

“That was when I decided to pack my stuff and head down to Nadi to look for a job.”

Mr Sogo found work as a security guard in Nadi, a role that kept him going for three months.

One day, while skimming through the dailies, he spotted an ad in food and beverage at one of the Coral Coast’s premier holiday destinations and applied.

When he received word that he was accepted at Shangri-La’s Fijian Resort and Spa, he was over the moon.

“I started there as a waiter and kitchen hand and it was an eye-opening experience.

“This was my first time working in a hotel environment and it was like working overseas.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think that one day I would be working in one of the biggest resorts in the Pacific.”

The resort experience was not all smooth sailing, but Mr Sogo said he was blessed to have a few old hands ready to show him the ropes when the going got tough.

“There are some ups and downs, but I’m so lucky that I worked with some very experienced staff and they were so helpful in guiding youngsters like me.”

Mr Sogo said Yanuca Island held a lot of memories for him because apart from providing him employment, the resort was also where he met his wife.

“Life began to change for me as I now had a life partner and everything I did I had to let her in on it.”

With a few years of experience under his belt, the butterflies had all but disappeared and his confidence in the food and beverage department did not go unnoticed.

“Work was not work, it became interesting because I was meeting people from all walks of life and different races as well.

“I was promoted to work in the bar as a bartender and later become a bar supervisor.”

Mr Sogo said moving to the west was the best decision he had ever made.

“I’m so lucky that God directed my path and used all my different experiences to shape me to become the person I am today.

“My wife and I have been blessed with four lovely children and my aim is to become the manager of this hotel in the future.

“My advice to young people is this – there is nothing impossible in life.

“If one door closes, God will always open another door for you, just remain faithful to Him.”

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