Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Believing in oneself and moving positively in life despite difficulties is what Jona Moli Bukasoqo believes in. The 22-year-old who is now enrolled in a carpentry and joinery course at the National Youth Training Centre at Nasau in Sigatoka has struggled a lot in life before ending at the vocational school.

He joined the school in March this year for the one year course. Prior to this, he was making a living from farming and fishing in Levuka. He has learnt to live on his own and says he always has the 'can do' attitude.

"My mum is from Tailevu and my dad is from the Lomaiviti Group but I never really got to stay with them as a family. My parents always have been on their own and moved on with their lives and I have learnt to look after myself," said Jona. He is the second youngest in a family of five children and is a school dropout.

"I went to Uluibau Primary School in Moturiki in the Lomaiviti Group. I stayed with my dad's relatives when I was young and then I was sent to Levuka to stay with my mum's relatives. I attended Delana Methodist High School in Levuka but I went up to Form Five only. My mum was supporting and financing my school needs but things got hard when I was in Form Five so I stopped schooling," he said.

Since then Jona was expected to survive on his own and he turned towards farming and fishing to make a living for himself in Levuka. "I was planting yaqona and going out to fish to earn money and I survived on that. I did not want to be a burden on relatives I was staying with so I had to do something on my own," said Jona.

Before resorting to farming and fishing, Jona was working for a company in Walu Bay but he was unhappy with the pay and the working condition. "I was working for long hours six days a week and the pay was not good so I moved away from that job and went to Levuka. There I knew I could do things on my own and earn better too," he said.

"I don't want to rely on somebody or make a living from someone's support. I want to do something on my own and become someone on my own."

Even though Jona was making a living for himself from the resources he obtained from the land and sea, he had higher aims at the back of his head. "While I was farming in Levuka, at the back of my head I knew I didn't want to do this forever but study and become someone in life so I kept looking for opportunities. I applied here last year and started in March this year. We don't have to pay for anything here except an enrollment fee of $60," he said.

Jona had also applied to the Centre for Appropriate Technology and Development in Nadave in Nausori last year but missed out on the interview. "I had a boil on my leg when they called me for an interview so I could not go but doing engineering there is what I really want to do. After completing my course here, I will apply again. Doing engineering is my dream and I know I will be there one day," he said.

He has bigger dreams which he plans to achieve on his own.

"I don't even want to be attached to my parents but I want to struggle on my own and get somewhere in life on my own. I have never got the full support and attention I needed so that's why I prefer doing everything on my own. I would like to go and explore what's availabe overseas and perhaps settle there in future," said Jona.

"There are some people I would really like to thank the youth coordinator in Lomaitiviti, Master Saimoni Dobui who always encouraged me to strive higher in life and kept telling me that I can do it on my own. Secondly, I would like to thank Ms Manaini Rokovunisei from the Ministry of Youth and Master Joseph Fuata who looks after us here," he said.

Jona's motto in life is 'Never lose hope no matter what'.

"Hope of getting somewhere and for things to get better should always be there. This is what I would like to say to all the young people out there who are in the same boat as I was once. Struggling is a part of life and we should not give up," he said.

Adapted from October 24th, 2007