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Village Hero

Village Hero
Tevita Toma (left), and Sakeo Navoca of Votua Village in Ba.
November 28
11:00 2016

Village hero!

That’s the title now bestowed on a 10-year-old boy of Votua Village in Ba.

Sakeo Navoca was presented with a special certificate at his school’s prizegiving for his act of heroism.

Two weeks ago on a Thursday, Sakeo, a Year Five student of Votua Catholic School, had risked his own life by jumping into a river to save his cousin, Tevita Toma, 6, from drowning.    

Little did Sakeo know that his sole act of bravery was going to earn him some recognition at the school’s prizegiving. He has become a star for Votua villagers.

His cousin Tevita had three words to say about the entire experience, which he relayed to his grandmother, Asena Vutaga. He said: “Happy, saved and alive.”

The news of the heroic act and rescue spread like wild fire in the village where Sakeo was hailed a village hero.

Tevita’s father, Nikaele Nawaikada, said he was angry at first with him for going out swimming without any adult supervision,

but was speechless when trying to describe how thankful he was to his nephew, Sakeo, for being there at the right time.

“Who knew a child could save another child’s life. It is a surprise, but we are not only thankful that our son is alive, but for the lives of both children,” Mr Nawaikada said.

“He (Sakeo) is a strong young boy and we will always be grateful for that day.”

Sakeo with the help of his mother, Asilika Ratu, told Fiji Sun how quickly he had acted when he saw Tevita struggling in the water.

“I was swimming in the river with some other children and Tevita, but the tide was rising and it was like about time to go back home,” Sakeo said.

“I came out of the river and looked around for Tevita, he was nowhere to be seen. When I looked backed towards the river, I saw only Toma’s fingers in waving gestures.

“I jumped without thinking of anything, got a hold of him and pushed him to the land area.”

At first the news came as a shock to Ms Ratu, but she said Sakeo was happy that his young cousin was alive. Ms Ratu said Tevita was brought back to the village with Sakeo and other kids who then revealed the story to them.

“My son told me all what happened, I could not believe it for a while,” she said.

Since then Ms Ratu has kept her eyes fixed on Sakeo and the other children he plays with.

Tevita’s parents, who work in Nadi, only learned of the news when they returned home during the weekend. He is the second youngest of Mr Nawaikada’s three children.

Tevita’s grandmother, Asena Vutaga, praised Sakeo highly and said: “I  want to thank you Sakeo for saving my grandson’s life.”

She was away in town at the time of the incident.

“Since then we are keeping an eye on our children at home because a miracle had happened last time. We do not know what can happen in life,” Ms Vutaga said.

Ms Ratu moreover, was proud of her son Sakeo and said: “He is a brave boy with a generous heart. We love him very much. I wish him all the success in his life and will always see that he continues to be a kind hearted child of Votua.”

Edited by Naisa Koroi


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