Friday, April 25, 2008


There are many unknown schools in Fiji especially those in the interior far away from urban centres. For Alifereti Nasila, teaching at the Nasikawa Vision College is a memorable experience.
Not only is he savouring the experience of his teaching transition from Ratu Sukuna Memorial School to the Korean-funded college in Sigatoka, but he is also helping the athletics squad improve at the Coke Light Games.
Born and bred in Naitauvoli Village, Wainimala in Naitasiri, Alifereti wanted to be a teacher from early childhood. The thought of being able to help in the development of children in rural areas grow academically is something that has kept his spirits high. While many from the village would describe life there as easy, Alifereti knows different.
Third in a family of six, Alifereti said life in the village is not always a bed of roses. He describes the physical hardships of life in the village as the strength that has enabled him to achieve his dream of being a teacher.
His parents were typical villagers and worked hard to provide all of them with a proper education, something Alifereti is always grateful for.
"I grew up in the village. I was a typical village boy living a typical village life. My parents were Taniela Gonetabu and Mereoni Cagonibua.
"They were also typical villagers and farmers. We lived in the interior and life there was difficult. We managed to survive though.
"I remember collecting firewood and working in the plantations with my father. It was something we had to do to survive in the village.
"Times were hard and we had to sell our produce to earn money. Back in the village, we used all sorts of things that cost money like sugar. So we had to work hard to earn money for this and other expenses like our education. Physically, life in the village was hard especially when there are a lot of things that need to be done in order to survive. This was a good experience for me growing up because it taught me a lot about responsibility and hard work."
He attended primary school at Naivucini District from Class One to Eight.
He then continued his secondary school at RSMS before going to the University of the South Pacific to complete his degree in education. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education. Alifereti was then given his first posting in 2002 to teach at his former secondary school RSMS before being transferred to Sigatoka early this year.
"When I was still in secondary school, I used to play sports and I also used to take part in athletics. In primary school, I was part of the rugby team even in secondary. I used to take part in the 3000 metres and 800 metres races. Unfortunately, I did not come any where but the fact that I tried my best was good enough for me. There is a lot of competition in Suva and even at the Coke Games.
"I have always been interested in the development of students whether academically or in sports. There are a lot of athletes here from Nasikawa Vision College who are very talented. These athletes were placed sixth in the Nadroga-Navosa schools meet.
"They won seven gold medals and that is something very motivating. Most of them do not excel academically but are very talented when it comes to sports. Some athletes might even consider taking up athletics professionally when they finish high school and this is something they can work hard for."
He said this year would be the first time for some athletes to participate in the Coke Light Games. Despite this, Alifereti believes there is more than meets the eye when it comes to these athletes from the 'Sand Dune city'.
He admitted competition at this year's meet would be tough. However, he is adamant there is still that beam of hope for athletes from the College.
"All the athletes are looking forward to the meet and preparations have been positive. Most of these athletes are used to training on grass and coming to the National Stadium before the games is good preparation for them. They will be able to feel what the tracks and grounds are like. It would be nice if the athletes are able to win at the games even if it is a single medal or a win, it would mean a lot for the athletes and the school.
"My advice for athletes participating at the games would be to work hard and strive to excel in every thing you do. I usually talk and encourage the athletes to do their best at the games. It is good also for the athletes to believe in themselves and to always have confidence that they can excel if they put their minds to it. We are all looking forward to the Coke Light Games meet this weekend," he said.

Adapted from Fijitimes Online