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Sokoilagi First In Family To Go For Naval Career

Sokoilagi First In Family To Go For Naval Career
Cadet Francis Valentine (left) and Mereseini Sokoilagi upon returning for 7 weeks of training at Togalevu Naval training base on April 07, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar.
April 09
11:00 2018

Mereseini Sokoilagi is the first in her family to em­bark on a career in the Fi­jian Navy.

Originally from Verata, Tailevu, Ms Sokoilagi, 22, is the eldest of four siblings.

She was an intern laboratory technician at Suva’s Colonial War Memorial Hospital before she was recruited seven weeks ago.

She graduated from the Fiji Na­tional University as a certified lab­oratory technician in 2017.

She has another six weeks of training ahead of her.

The Fiji Sun caught up with her immediately after a tough train­ing session at the Togalevu Naval Training Base, in Veisari, on Sat­urday morning.

She said she was proud to be the first in the family to attempt the challenge of joining the navy.

Ms Sokoilagi was covered in mud and sweating.

Looking back over the past seven weeks, Ms Sokoilagi said the first few weeks of the training was dif­ficult. But she adjusted to the rou­tines and continued with her pas­sion to be a naval personnel.

So far she has been through weap­on trainings, war craft training, gun usage and cleaning processes, survival in remote areas, time management and discipline.

“For me, discipline is the most im­portant of all trainings,’’ Ms Sokoil­agi said.

“We were taught to adjust to dif­ferent natural events and how I could build my self-confidence.”

She said one of her motives to join the navy was to learn how to sur­vive.

“I am the first in my family to join one of the defence forces (Fiji Po­lice Force, Republic of Fiji Military Forces and Navy),’’ she said.

“Navy was my first choice.

“I wanted to build my career on something my family can be proud of. And, I think, they already are.

“I am also proud of my achieve­ments so far … that I have complet­ed seven weeks of tough training already.

“Being among the first females to join the navy is like a cherry on top (of the cake).

“We still have six more weeks to go to complete our training.

“I am very confident … and, eager to know what more is there to be learned.”

Ms Sokoilai is among a batch of 79 recruits, of which 26 are women.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

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