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