Monday, September 15, 2008


Mohammed Naushad Khan was a cut above the rest when he was crowned Vodafone Hibiscus King two Saturdays ago.

Putting aside his handsome crown, Mohammed decided to cook one of his specialties lamb in special sauce. The final year dental student at the Fiji School of Medicine was up for the challenge when approached to whip up something fit for a king. His ideal recipe is not only nutritious garnished with greens but it is something any one can try.

Keeping the budget low, Mohammed said he learnt first-hand the basics of cooking while helping his mother, Radha Khan prepare family meals.

"Mostly I just help around in the kitchen but when my mother saw I had an interest in cooking too, she taught me how to make various Indian dishes," he said. "I can also cook Chinese dishes including chicken chow-mein, fried rice and deep fried chicken.

"My favourite dish is chicken curry with dhal, rice and potato salad. "The recipe I cooked today is a dish I picked up from my brother when I was living with him in Suva. It is fairly easy to cook and does not take up a lot of preparation time.

"The good thing is the recipe is modifiable and other ingredients including vegetables like carrots can be added to give it a more nutritious taste." Mohammed said the lamb in special sauce goes well with rice, dalo or cassava.

The middle child in a family of three, Mohammed said the secret to making a tasty dish is in having confidence in trying out new ideas and recipes. "The best thing about cooking is coming up with anything you want and not being afraid to try out something new."

The 24-year old is originally from Delailabasa in Labasa and wanted to become a pilot when he was younger.

Lamb in special sauce

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves: Four people
1kg boneless lamb
Soya bean oil
One clove garlic crushed
Crushed ginger
1.5 onions chopped
Soya sauce
5 tbsp tomato sauce


* Marinate boneless lamb with some crushed garlic, a little ginger and soya sauce. Leave to marinate for 10 to 15 minutes;
* Heat a little oil in a pan and add chopped onions. Fry until golden brown and add leftover garlic and ginger;
* Fry until golden brown and add marinated lamb. Stir and leave until lamb is almost cooked;
* Add salt to taste and add tomato sauce. Leave to simmer until lamb is cooked; and
* Serve with rice or dalo and garnish with lettuce and cucumber.
Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Her job is something right out of a CSI: Miami series but Elizabeth Peters (pictured) is more than just a forensics officer with the Fiji Police Force. Born and bred in Suva, Elizabeth never thought she would join the police force let alone the forensics science department.

The eldest of four, Elizabeth hails from Naisogovau in Tailevu. Her father John is a taxi proprietor while her mother Sera was a housewife. Thinking along the lines of being a doctor or lawyer, Elizabeth is a forensic biologist with a passion for the job.

"Like a normal Fiji kid, I was thinking of becoming a lawyer or a doctor. I had a normal upbringing in an average family," she said. "My dad used to work as a mechanic and both my parents worked hard to provide and put us through school.

"I attended primary and secondary school at Nabua before getting a scholarship to study at the University of Flinders in South Australia. "It was a whole new experience for me especially fresh out of high school into university."

She spent three years in Australia completing a bachelor in technology majoring in forensic and analytical chemistry.

Time away from home in another country meant a new life altogether. Sharing a house with four other scholarship recipients in the Land Down Under, Elizabeth learned to be independent. "It was a big difference and at first a bit difficult especially stepping out of Suva and being exposed to the bright lights in Australia.

"Being away from home was a major trial on independence and the four of us learned to cook, clean and shoulder responsibilities. "We had a lot of challenges but in the end we were just experiencing life.

"After I graduated, I came back to Fiji and joined the police force in 2001 as a special constable.
"Some of the things we learned at University were not required when I joined the force so it was more of a hands-on experience."

In 2004, Elizabeth went back to Australia to complete a post graduate diploma in DNA analysis at the same university. She returned to join the forensic science department assisting detectives and investigators with major crime scenes.

Apart from limited resources and finance, Elizabeth said one of the challenges of her profession is working on DNA legislations that set a platform and boundaries. "These are in terms of DNA analysis, uplifting of samples from suspects, accused, volunteers and maintaining a DNA database to name a few.

"The implementation has taken some time to complete owing to the lack of resources but validation should be accomplished in the very near future. "When this happens, it should be exciting as analysis along with a DNA legislation will assist in investigations allowing for prompt results as compared to when samples are sent overseas."

She said anyone could become a forensic biologist if they put their mind and heart to the task. Elizabeth enjoys the work she does and finds the profession very satisfying knowing she has helped detectives take a step further to finding the truth about a crime. Her advice for those thinking of joining the field is to work hard and be committed.

"Be sincere in all that you do and be inspired. Work on your aspirations and have a mentor. "Have some form of responsibility but know that not everybody's cut out for academic or school work.

"If you have a passion to do something then go for it. You can make a career out of anything.
"Regardless of your background, you can make a difference and contribute something positive back to society.
"Remember, anything is possible."

Adpted from Fijitimes Online

Monday, September 8, 2008


LOSING an arm in a tragic accident has not stopped Josua Reece from carrying on with his life.

The 37-year-old was selling pot plants and ferns at his stall outside the Suva Civic Centre hall when The Fiji Times caught up with him.

Born and bred in Naivimagimagi on Kadavu, Josua grew up in a farming community. His parents John and Senitiki Reece were farmers.
The youngest of three, Josua never thought about what he wanted to do in life. On Kadavu life centred around farming and during the school holidays, household chores.

"We leased in Naivimagimagi and even though my parents were farmers, the returns were not that good," Josua said. "I was the kind to go with the flow and I took life as it came. "Our income was not that much but my parents still managed to provide for us.

"All of us used to help out as much as we could with the farming at home." Josua attended primary and secondary school on Kadavu. As a student, he walked to school every day to save money. When he reached secondary school level, he stayed at a boarding school and after completing Form 6, he started looking for work to help support his family.

"I started looking for a job straight after high school. The first job I found was at a garment factory," he said. "I worked in the bulk section and at the time I was earning enough to get by.

"Like single youths at the time, I was into other distractions like drinking and smoking. "Shortly after, I applied for a job with Turtle Island Resort. "The pay was a bit better and I was a diver, mostly involved in water sports for tourists. "Diving is not easy but I learned when I was on Kadavu.

"For me, the challenging part of diving is during shark feeding time." Josua said he would take some of the tourist divers to underwater caves and near aircraft and ship crash sites. He was earning a good income and made a lot of friends. At the same time, he was honing his diving skills and learning new skills in the hospitality industry. However, it all came to a crashing end for Josua when he fell 150 feet while parasailing.

"I lost the nerves in my left arm," he said. "I took a tourist out for parasailing and as we went higher, the winds that day were very strong. "The rope from the boat snapped and luckily the tourist was still strapped onto the parachute so she was all right. "I had nothing tied to me.
"It was a free fall from 150 feet.

"I fell on my left arm. If I had fallen on my chest I would have died. "It was a very hard time in my life, especially when I was in hospital with no feeling in my left arm. "I thought that was the end of my life because I lost my left arm. "There was a point in my life when I felt there was no hope for the future." Josua said he coped with his mother by his side.

As time passed, he began to heal and his perspective on life changed when he married Alumeci Koroi and had two children. "I had a family and I wasn't going to let one arm hold me back from giving my children a good life," he said.

"So I moved on with life and decided to do something useful, "It was very hard to find a job but my in-laws pushed me to start selling flowers and plants. "At first I thought it was something for women and girls but then I realised as long as it brought home an income and put food on the table, this was something I wanted to do.

"I am grateful still that I am able to do something to keep my family going. I have been doing this for more than four years now and I learned a lot from this job.

"Sometimes, I would ask the other ladies for help about what sort of plants and flowers I had and they were very helpful." His advice to young people is to stop mucking around and find something useful and productive to do.

Josua said losing a limb is not the end of the world. His determination to live life for his family is enough to make anyone appreciate the passion this man has to make the most of life.
Adpted from Fijitimes Online