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Jiowana Remembers Late ‘Dad’

Jiowana Remembers Late ‘Dad’
President Major-General (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote at the Anzac Day Dawn Service in Suva on April 25, 2018. Photo: Simione Haranavanua
April 26
10:00 2018


A friendship that stemmed from caring for a drunk man has resulted in a former Fijian citizen attending every Anzac Day celebration.

It is a friendship that changed Jiowana Dau Miles’ life and was given her fond memories.

Ms Miles attended yesterday’s Anzac Day Dawn Service at the Suva Military Cemetery and recounted her experience and how important Anzac Day was to her.

Originally from Raviravi, Matuku in Lau but residing in Brisbane, Australia, Ms Miles, 69, reminisced how she met a friend who changed her life.

One evening while returning home from work in 1989, Ms Miles saw an old man lying on the road drunk with a cut on his forehead.

“At first, I thought he was a homeless, then I noticed that he lived on the same street as me,” she said.

“I held him up, took him to his home, cleaned his wound and put him to sleep.

“On the next day when I came back from work, he was in the pub.”

Ms Miles said she knew it was the same old man she helped the previous night.

“When she told him the story, he cuddled me and cried and said, ‘You know what, you are my daughter sent from heaven.’”

From that day on, they became best friends.

She said her friend, Reginald Jones, was a widower who did not have any children.

“Mr Jones was like a father to me and he treated me like his own daughter,” Ms Miles said.

“He paid my rent and whenever I wanted to come to Fiji to see my family all my expenses were covered by him.

“I was wondering what he does and later after I did some digging, I found out that he once served in the Australian army.

“I thanked the Lord for giving me such a kind, caring and humble friend and a father.”

Ms Miles said she left her job and took care of her friend for 10 years until he died in 2001.

“Before he died, he told me that I didn’t need to work, that I would be fine and I was going to be wealthy,” she said.

“I did not know what he meant until after he passed away. Then I later found out that he had registered me as a next of kin and that he willed all his properties and assets to me.”

She said her life changed from that day. “When he died I cremated him and brought his ashes all the way to Fiji and buried him in my plot at Vatuwaqa,” she said.

“I learnt a lot from him and how important our servicemen are. They are our heros and I honour that.

“Today is always a very special day for me. From the day I knew my friend, I have always been keeping this day close to my heart.”

Ms Miles said everywhere she went she would carry her late friend’s medals with her.

“It is nearly 18 years now since he passed on. I will always remember him.” Edited by Epineri Vula


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