Women on a mission

Doctor Sainiana Ratuki (left) with Nurse Practitioner Kelera Dunadamu, Nurse Unit Managers Jovilisi Qiboni, Sister Mua Faga and Physiotherapist Adi Titilia Tuwai attend UNDOF Pre-deployment training as part of the Fiji Military at the Black Rock Military Camp in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

TEN women have joined the Republic of Fiji Military Forces’ latest United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) mission to Golan Heights.

The women are part of the 134 personnel from the RFMF, Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the Ministry of Health that marched into training camp at Blackrock in Nadi yesterday.

One of those deploying at the end of August is Dr Sainiana Ratuki from the Rewa Subdivision Hospital.

She said the inspiration behind her joining the medical team under the Ministry of Health’s Fiji Emergency Medical Team was her father.

“He was a Major in the military before his retirement and I wanted to follow in his footsteps by also serving with the military,” she said.

“He is a man of few words but when he found out that I was going to be deployed, I knew that he was very proud.

“This is my first time going on a mission like this and I hope to serve my country well.”

In contrast, Warrant Officer Class One Vani Tabualevu says Golan Heights would be her ninth tour of duty.

“It’s quite challenging for us especially working in a male-dominated environment, but it’s very interesting because you get to travel to all of these places in the Middle East like Israel and Iraq,” she said.

“The most challenging part is being away from my family, especially my children but they know the sacrifices that we make and they understand the work that I do.”

According to the RFMF, 124 personnel are from Fiji’s military, five from the Ministry of Health and five from ADF.

The group was welcomed into the training camp by New Zealand ambassador to Fiji Jonathan Curr.

Mr Curr said as a former diplomat to the Middle East, peacekeeping duties were not an easy commitment to make.

“Those who were deployed at observation posts were doing so at some risk,” he said.

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