When families part

KISSES, Hugs, handshakes, and shedding of tears were some scenes at the Nausori International Airport.

This is before the Fiji Airways Drua took to the skies on rainy Friday morning for the National Rugby Championship semi-final against Queensland Country tomorrow.

The Senirusi Seruvakula-coached Drua is the talk of the annual tournament for making the semis on its maiden entry.

And like the adage ‘Behind every successful man is a strong woman,’ the scenes yesterday showed that family members, the mothers, the children and most importantly the spouses, play the second important part after the coach in getting the players ready for the semi-final today.

It will be in a foreign land. Surely the thoughts of loved ones back at will strengthen the players.

In several group hugs was prop Eroni Mawi and his family. He was farewelled by his mother Tema, and siblings Rokocama, Tema, Wesele, and Watson.

In another corner stood Maciu Balemila of Sawani, Naitasiri with fellow villagers Filimoni Seru and Samuela Saqiwa.

“It’s moments like this when families and loved ones matter most to players because it helps them achieve what they are set out to do on the field,” Balemila said.

Seru had his family with him – wife Temalesi who is from Kasavu and his namesake son.

“He is my best friend and it is always hard for me to leave them behind,” he said kissing and playfully hoisting his toddler son into the air at the airport corridor. A sign of pride. Outside the rain drops beat the roof in light showers.

Fiji Navy’s Peni Naulago has the best way of saying goodbye to his family.

There was a band attached to his right wrist and connected to his daughter, Alesi Naburetau’s left hand.

They playfully jogged along the corridor. His daughter giggled enjoying the moments, unaware that dad was about to fly away.

The parting act lasted about an hour. And when the boarding call came over the PA system, the band was handed to her mother Unaisi and the giggles changed to cries.

The band dangling from the right wrist signalled the father’s protection over his daughter and family. His wife Unaisi is five months pregnant.

“It’s hard because he is a naval officer and most of the time we stay in the farm.

“Rugby takes him away, but as a family, we are his biggest supporter. We always pray that God brings him home safely,” she said.

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